One of my favorite gadgets is my Livescribe Echo Smartpen that I bought last summer. I use it on and off in my classroom and for every meeting outside of school that I want to record both audio notes and my written notes. I got the 8GB version and probably have enough room to record all the class sessions I need for the rest of the school year. It’s a great tool for anyone who takes notes, and also integrates with my other favorite, Evernote.
I’ve showed the pen off to many people at my school who are interested in exploring its potential in the hands of students, especially those with special needs or language issues. We have even considered writing a grant to pilot a program to put the pens in students’ hands. Yesterday, at my behest, a Livescribe educational sales rep visited. He made a presentation that, sadly, was really terrible. He couldn’t even convince me, an avid user, that a school could run a practical program for student use or that the price was worth it.
This is not to say that I don’t still think the Echo is an awesome tool that we should be using at my school. It is! But I was clearly misguided to think that the manufacturer’s own sales rep would do the job of convincing my administration or colleagues for me. So, if I want to get these pens into kids’ hands at school, I would have to do it myself. I KNOW I could do a better demo than the rep did — I’ve done it. What he did wrong was bring only one pen, distribute an insufficient number of flyers, line up the products still in the packaging, try to show us the software on his laptop (he never even ASKED to hook into an LCD projector) and waited until the end to let people get hands-on time with the single gadget. Since it was after school, people understandably just took off.
However, I just don’t have the energy to fight this battle. What with budget cuts and furlough days and increasing class sizes and adopting a new textbook, I’ve felt overwhelmed with just my normal workload. Maybe next year…. 😦
BTW, below are links that *I* had provided to our audience that should’ve been in his presentation.
Listen to this pencast from Janice Crowley(AP Teacher of the Year, Chemistry Teacher of the Year, Milken Education winner) on why she thinks this is the most important technology she has in her classroom:
General info on the Smartpens:
The Livescribe blog and community