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Archive for December, 2010

Livescribe Wins Award of Excellence from Tech & Learning

We are excited to announce that Livescribe has won Tech & Learning’s Award of Excellence in the category of “Best Upgraded Product.”  This award honors products that have made significant enhancements to previous versions of the same product that have evolved to meet the changing needs of technology. We were selected amongst other leading names in education technology including Adobe, SMART, and RM.

Tech & Learning’s Awards of Excellence are chosen by a team of 30 educators from around the country including New York City Department of Education, the University of Michigan, and top Tech & Learning advisors. We are honored to have been selected for our commitment to supporting classroom teachers and administrators.

This write up can be found in the December Issue of Tech & Learning, or online here.

This unique interactive pen records what you hear, say, and write. The microphone records clear sound, and a built-in speaker plays back crisp audio. An infrared camera captures everything written on dot paper, and users can link recordings to what they’ve written; simply tap notes to hear the recordings. Users can save and share notes on a computer, iPhone, or iPad via a USB connection. The pen also includes a calculator function that can be activated on dot paper. The judges found the Smartpen an effective note-taking tool for students that also helps them develop better note-taking skills. They also appreciated how easy it was for students to use by themselves.

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Congratulations to Tech & Learning Leaders of the Year!

Livescribe is proud to congratulate the winners of the 23rd Annual Tech & Learning Leader of the Year award.  The honor recognizes these individuals as the top education technology leaders in the country. Each winner utilizes technology is an incredible way in their school / district.

 

 

Brian MannixSeventh-grade social studies teacher, Great Neck South (NY) Middle School (In image, on left)

Never doubt your students or their ability to help. That’s Brian Mannix’s motto. As he says, “The more faith you have, and the more you turn that over, the easier your job becomes.” Mannix collaborated last year with his team teachers (English and science) on a Connected Classroom project. Now the three are testing it before it gets rolled out school-wide. Over the summer, the technology committee invested $20,000 on Dell netbooks and Apple iPod Touches for 1:1 and 1:2 connectivity, respectively. So far, Mannix’s classes have done a colonization project with schools in New Jersey and South Carolina, communicating via Skype and wikis. They are learning about digital citizenship through Digi Teen Project (digiteen.ning.com), a program that links 11 schools from all over the world.

Julie CarterExecutive Director of Technology, Minnetonka (MN) School District (In image, in middle)

If you can’t access the technology, what good is it? That’s the underlying question behind Julie Carter’s ambitious plan to allow her teachers to personalize education to meet each child’s unique needs. In 2002 and 2007, district voters approved a levy referendum for technology and instructional equipment. The funding accelerated Minnetonka’s vision for technology integration from 11 classrooms in 2002 to more than 400 classrooms in 2009. To incorporate technology into every aspect of her district, Carter has done four key things. First, she figured out how to put the most computers into student’s hands. “Instead of a 1:1 laptop program, we focused on 1:1 access,” she says. Then she provided access to the laptop-loaner program. The third tier of her plan was to create MyMinnetonka, a portal for students, parents, and staff. Finally, Carter opened a guest wireless network at the high school for students to bring in their own laptops, smartphones, iPods, and other devices.

Kevin M. AndersonAssistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Oak Park Elementary School District 97, IL (in image, on right)

How do you move a school district forward? According to Kevin M. Anderson, it takes patience, people, persistence, partnerships, and teamwork. In five years, his district went from outdated computers, various operating systems, and an understaffed tech department to a high-functioning district where teachers use Web 2.0 tools on a fiber network. What’s more, he did it on a shoestring budget. From the technology committee he filled with community members, parents, technology experts, staff members, and teachers to the fiber network he put in place, Anderson executed his plan one step at a time.

Livescribe is proud to donate an Echo Smartpen to each of the winners.

Congratulations!

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Livescribe – Transcribing Ink to Text (English) – New

Over the past 15+ months that I’ve been demonstrating educational applications of Livescribe smartpens I’ve frequently been asked: Can handwriting written with a smartpen be converted to text?

I’m always delighted to be able to say yes it is - with the only qualifications being that the handwriting (printing or cursive)
a) be readable to the average person and
b) be in one of about 25 languages supported by the MyScript for Livescribe software.  

Then I either demonstrate just how well it works or encourage them to view my YouTube or Screencast.com video.  If they’re interested I tell them to download the full version of the software and try it for 30 days to make sure it works for them before purchasing it or using the activation code they’ve been given for it.

The updated HD YouTube 5 minute video below shows just how easy it is to transcribe ink (printing and/or cursive) to text using a Livescribe Echo smartpen and the  MyScript for Livescribe add-on ($29.95).  The video only shows transcription for US English but MyScript for Livescribe transcribes ink in 25+ languages. YouTube version: Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO5GwLFlN3s

Screencast.com version with download link (below video)

Link to view full screen, download, or comment on:   http://www.screencast.com/t/ESwPBDSiuXhm

Credits: This video was recorded & produced with Camtasia Studio 7 from TechSmith and an AVerMedia 355AF document camera.

How (and why) to Enlarge Audio Dots [+ How to Make them Findable for those with Vision Loss]

Whenever I demonstrate a talking test, audio study guide, or AAC images someone always asks me if it might be possible to enlarge the visible tappable ink (check mark, dot, etc) or add tappable “invisible ink” to an image  so that students or adults with poor fine motor skills and/or vision loss can successfully tap on the visible or invisible ink to start audio replaying.

I’m always happy to tell them “YES!” and then I often quickly show them one or both ways that I know of to do this since they’re so quick & easy to do.

In the video below I show how to use a inking cartridge (I prefer medium blue as it stands out from black) to enlarge an existing audio dot (or check mark, etc) to make it a large enough target so that if someone taps anywhere on it the associated audio will play.  Below the video I list the simple steps for doing what the video shows.

It’s also possible to make an area on dot paper (or on a dot paper label) tappable using “invisible ink.  This requires a non-inking stylus) which are only available from K-12 Livescribe representatives.   Step by step instructions for how to do this are on page 5 of this sample teaching strategy guide on AAC: http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/media/pdf/education/Teacher_Guide_4_Augmentative_Assistive_Communication.pdf

Step by step instructions for enlarging audio/talking dots (or check marks):

  1. Tap on the existing ink to start paper replay.
  2. Immediately tap the Pause button.*
  3. Put your pen tip down on the ink you tapped.
  4. Without lifting the smartpen draw a bunch of ink** – perhaps drawing a larger and larger solid circle or some other shape.
  5. Lift up your smartpen when you’re all done adding new tappable ink.

Voila! – You should now be able to tap anywhere on the enlarged inked area.

* You can cut out the Play/Pause/Stop buttons and float them around as needed to get them close to where the ink/audio “action” is.
** I like to use Medium Blue Point Ink Cartridges because blue stands out and because I can add a lot of ink much faster using a medium point cartridge. These are available for about $6 for 5 cartridges.

To make the tappable area findable by someone with vision loss

  1. Add a little bling to the center of the tappable area.
  2. By adding this to the center of the tappable area they can feel for the bling and then tap left or right of it depending on their handedness.
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