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 (, 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.


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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 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: version with download link (below video)

Link to view full screen, download, or comment on:

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:

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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Livescribe and Digital Wish Partner for Education Discounts


We’ve partnered with Digital Wish, an online donation registry where teachers register to get the technology needed for their classrooms, to provide educators a 10 percent discount on our 4GB and 8GB Echo smartpen education bundles, which includes everything you need to immediately begin using the smartpen in your classroom.

We are excited to make our technology even more affordable for the individual teacher and are committed to supporting education and technology in the classroom.

You can register your classroom at to access this exclusive offer. Non-educators can also purchase Echo smartpens for their favorite classrooms via online classroom profiles.

For more specifics about the program, visit our page on the Digital Wish website. 

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Students Helping Students

October 17th, 2010 Sue Glascoe, Educator No comments

By: Sue Glascoe, Math Instructor at Mesa Community College

I taught a Saturday workshop a few weeks ago with a colleague of mine on the Livescribe smartpens,  the eInstruction Mobi, and Bloom’s Taxonomy.  It was a fun combination of topics!  As we were co-teaching, I found out that she was using her two Livescribe smartpens in a way I had never even thought of. 

Shelley Rodrigo teaches in the English department at Mesa Community College and believes that Livescribe smartpens are such valuable tools for herself and her students that she has purchased both a Pulse and an Echo on her own.   She brings them to her Fundamentals of Writing courses and her Women in Films course every day, and hands them to two students before the class begins.


Two students take notes each class period with the pens as part of their participation grade.     Shelley then posts the two sets of notes from each class on her course google website, where all students in her classes can view them.  Here you can see a pair of notes from her 9am Writing Fundamentals class.


She also posts notes from her class at a different time, for both sets of students to view.   This way if she approached the material differently, or added something in one class, all students would have access to those class notes as well.  

This is an excellent idea for having the students be accountable for taking notes in class, along with allowing the rest of the students to see two different perspectives of the content discussed during class.  

When I asked Shelley how she thought it was going for her students, her response was "This is working well. Some students regularly review the notes/audio, and others who have missed class are usually prompting me to get stuff up ASAP. For future classes with face-to-face components, I’ll probably make a more polished prompt (with more guidelines for notetaking)."

Here is an example of one student’s notes taken during Shelley’s Fundamentals of Writing Class:

Shelley has the students sign an authorization form to share their notes and to record their voices during class.   Her google website can only be accessed by students currently in her classes, even though the Livescribe pencasts are made public so she can embed them.  Shelley even has her students post comments and assignments through their twitter accounts!   Here is an example of an assignment post from a student in her ENG091 class:
I am impressed with the great ideas coming from colleagues whose goal is to help their students be more successful through the inclusion of 21st century technology in their classes. I am very excited to start teaching my students to use a Livescribe smartpen to take notes, and open up the opportunity for them to gain more insight into the material taught through the ability to read and share class notes with their peers.


Pennsylvania Educator Creates Winning Combo: Livescribe + Moodle + Pencast Player App

Last Christmas, Michelle Eichelberger, a high school physics, chemistry and physical science teacher at McConnellsburg High School in Pennsylvania, received a 4GB Pulse smartpen as a gift from her husband. As Michelle explains on her glog (an online poster that supports video and audio – see image), she now uses her smartpen to add interactive pencasts to Moodle courses for students. Additionally, she uses it to post meaningful assignments/examples for substitute teachers when she’s out of the classroom.

 Michelle is also using iPods in her curriculum. In her “iPod Project,” Michelle records video lessons that students watch as part of regular homework assignments. These recordings often introduce a new concept, allowing Michelle to spend valuable class time answering questions or leading roundtable discussions and labs. With the launch of Livescribe’s Pencast Player app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (announced earlier this week – click here for more information), Michelle plans to take this a step further by adding iPod pencast lessons that explain how to complete or solve a new type of formula or problem step-by-step. She believes this will be especially powerful time-saver because she can record a lesson’s video and audio simultaneously – something she’s been unable to do with other tech tools.  
This past summer, Michelle discussed her new approaches to teaching with smartpens during the 2010 Keystone Summit. All 100 Pennsylvanian educators who attended the multi-day summit received a 4GB Pulse smartpen to use in their own classroom. We hope to hear how these teachers put their new smartpens to use with their students – and when we do, we’ll be sure to post their stories here.

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From Traditional to Innovative- Guest Post from Livescribe Educator Sue Glascoe

September 8th, 2010 Sue Glascoe, Educator No comments

 From Traditional to Innovative

Last spring I was asked by my Dean to write a grant for technology for a new project that was happening on my campus.   The Arithmetic course was being transformed from a traditional lecture class to a series of hands-on workshops with the hopes of including innovative technology designed to help motivate the students, keep them engaged and give the instructors immediate feedback to student comprehension during the workshops.  

Since the Dean knew I was already teaching with quite a bit of amazing technology, she asked me to write the grant and get the technology in the hands of those who would be teaching the new workshops.

The first thing I had the Dean order, even before I had a chance to write the grant, was a set of Livescribe smartpens Read more… From Traditional to Innovative- Guest Post from Livescribe Educator Sue Glascoe

Livescribe User Brian Licata Wins 2010 Digital Education Achievement Awards

Great news! One of our smartpen users, Brian Licata a teacher at St. John’s Lutheran School in Staten Island, New York, was just named the winner of the 2010 Digital Education Achievement Awards (DEAA). The DEAA honors exceptional websites, digital technology projects and programs that have enriched education for students and teachers. Brian submitted a detailed entry that outlines his use of smartpen technology in his seventh grade math classroom, which ultimately earned him top honors in the K-12 Education Digital Application/Project category. 

Below are a few excerpts from the submission that highlight how Brian’s use of Pulse smartpens allows him to offer specific and timely feedback that meets each individual student’s needs. We hope you think this use of smartpen technology is as powerful as the Center for Digital Education’s judges did.  
Congrats to Brian on this well-earned achievement! 
“This project started from an instruction standpoint where I as the teacher was recording my lessons for my students to review at home. […] This turned my 45 minute periods into 24/7 teaching.  I soon saw the potential of these pens when I made a mathematical error and a few students pointed it out to me. I thought to myself that I wish I could hear them explain their math, the way that I had been explaining mine.” I now  “watch and listen to every student work out their math problems as if I taught only one student at a time, I can then go back to the individual student and develop a corrective plan of action based on their work.”
“This new technology has helped to change the way students are being assessed. In math classes around the world, students work out problems in their notebook. Sometimes a few students get to go to the board and show how they solved a problem. This means that the majority of the class checks their own work but do not learn from their mistakes. Even on collected work, the teacher often has a hard time following the pattern of thought from the student to determine where or why they made an error. The Smartpen has corrected this problem, allowing the teacher to watch their class work our problems in [real time]. This form of assessment has never been attempted with a class of 25.”
“The use of the Smartpens has greatly increased my classes understanding of and implementation of mathematical concepts. The ease of use of the Smartpen and the fact that it can be accessed anywhere is why this project has succeeded. All you need is one Livescribe pen and a notebook for this technology to work. Sixty pens can be synced to one laptop for uploading and one free online account can house all your students work.
See below for one of Brian’s recent pencasts.



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Livescribe in Africa- 21st Century Learning in Senegal

Livescribe has partnered with CyberSmart Africa to supports 21st century learning in Senegal. Schools in this developing nation are piloting the Pulse smartpen as a portable, easy-to-use, powerful learning tool to enrich math, English language learning, geography and social studies. Follow the CyberSmart project at

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