Thursday, March 25, 2010

LiveScribe Pulse Smart Pens

Have you heard the buzz about the new LiveScribe pens? They record audio while taking notes. The pen has an infrared camera that reads a special dot pattern on the paper. The pen matches the audio recording to the notes that are being taken. When the lecture/meeting/presentation is over, tap the notes to hear it again! Tap anywhere on the notes, and the pen remembers the audio from the spot. Check out the video at you have to see it to believe it!

These pens are a great assistive technology tool. Not only are they readily available (sold at Target and Best Buy), but they are reasonable priced. The 2GB model starts at about $150. The 2GB model holds 200 hours of recording time, and the 4GB model holds 400 hours of recording time. The notebooks cost about $7 each. The pen does require the specialized paper to work, however, the paper can be downloaded and printed from the website.

Besides the obvious use of eliminating a scribe for students, we are using these pens for students who need the accommodation of having tests read to them. Simply tear out a sheet of notebook paper, and run it through the printer to print the test on it. Before the scheduled test, use the pen to record the test for the student. The student sits in class with the pen and the headphones plugged in. The test is read to the student with out having to leave the class. The student can even increase or decrease the playback speed, so the question is read at a speed that he or she can easily follow. How wonderful is that?!

I have also seen examples of the pen being used for students as a communication device. Boardmaker symbols are printed onto the paper, and a teacher records the messages. The student uses the pen to tap the picture, and it is spoken.

I want to know, where were these pens when I was in college? Disability services at some colleges are switching from carbon copy notebooks to these pens, eliminating note takers for students! Hooray for independence!



  1. Independence - keep up the good work with our students needs!

  2. Hi Amy, I am a dyslexia lecturer in a college in the Uk and we have just got some Livescribe pens in. We often have problems getting note takers for students and also as readers in exams. I am really interested in the point where you said you are using them for exams and I understand why you need to print the test on the special paper, however, I am unsure how you are recording the test so that the student clicks on an area and it reads it out. Are you just recording, then pressing the pen on the start of a question, reading it out, then putting the pen at the end of the questiona and stopping recording?? Sorry if this is really silly but this is new technology for us and I am really excited about getting the most out of it for students and freeing up some of the support staffs' time by making the learners more independent.

    Can you email me back at either Many thanks