Growing up, I loved James Bond movies. My favorite scene from each movie was when he would visit “Q” in the lab to see the latest gadget that had been created for James to use.
When I first saw the Livescribe SmartPen, I was placed in the moment feeling like I was visiting “Q”. This pen has become one of the most demonstrated and recommended pieces of assistive technology for students across the range of learning disabilities. What makes this pen so great?
While the SmartpPen allows you to take traditional ink notes, it also has the ability to capture audio simultaneously while taking notes. Here’s where the real magic happens; the pen is combining written notes and anchoring them with the audio happening at that exact moment, bookmarking it for later. What does this mean? This allows you to go back in your written notes and tap on something written (whether word or picture), and the pen will play back the audio from that exact recording through the pen. No need to search through hours of a recording. The pen requires special paper that has thousands of dots that the pen uses to track writing and anchor it to the audio that it records.
For many individuals with learning disabilities, it is completely transforming the way they pay attention in class, retain and process information and study using the audio from notes they have taken. We teach the individual to keep short, keywords during a lecture keeping attention on the discussion rather than worrying about keeping overly detailed notes. For most students with learning disabilities, auditory learning is their biggest strength and most struggle with the stress of keeping accurate written notes. This pen allows a student to go home and play back audio from a specific point from the discussion to help retain the information that we being presented.