High-Tech Helpers: The Livescribe Smartpen
At Living with Disability we embrace all the benefits of technology and the way it has made life lots easier for many people. As technology advances, so do the gadgets and gizmos designed specifically to make living with disabilities less difficult and supporting daily independence.
One item which is extremely useful for people with learning disabilities is The Livescribe Smartpen. Livescribe produce a range of Smartpens that can significantly improve the educational and work place environment for people who may have difficulty taking notes. This tweet is a testament to how valuable Smartpens can be:
@ #disabilitygadgets My wheelchair and my hand controls in the car. Oh and my LiveScribe Pulse smartpen.
Smartpens can help people with a number of different conditions including dyspgraphia, auditory processing difficulties and learning difficulties. With a Smartpen, you can focus on the teacher, the speaker or the lecturer you need to, rather than worrying about scribbling down every single word which can be extremely challenging for some.
So, what do Smartpens do?
A Livescribe Smartpen combines all four communication methods in one device. With a Smartpen you can record audio via its built-in microphone or through a Livescribe recording headset. When taking notes, the Smartpen can record the whole lesson, conversation or lecture and even creates digitised handwriting, automatically syncing the audio and ink. You can replay the audio by simply tapping the digitised ink. You can also choose to record audio without text if you prefer and you can transfer all files to your computer if you need to. Organising your notes isn’t difficult and you can even search for specific words within your notes, if you’re trying to revise or focus on a particular topic.
What do the customers think?
Smartpens’ customers are absolutely overwhelmed with their efficiency. Customers rate their effectiveness highly and feel they can considerably help them in their educational and professional lives. Despite all its high-tech gadgetry within this product, customers are surprised by how lightweight they are and how easy and straightforward they are to use. Described as a brilliant tool for both business and education, the Livescribe Smartpen can enhance and change your lifestyle.
This video shows exactly how great the Livescribe Smartpen can be great for work and school:
We saw recently saw Dan from the tweet above talking about the Livescribe Pulse on Facebook
And looking at the reviews on Amazon, it is a very popular item:
I love my Pulse 4GB. This Echo 8GB is just that much nicer – more comfortable to hold, more memory, better uplink connection than the Pulse’s standard cradle, which is a little too easy to knock the pen off from. The Pulse’s pro cradle (upright) is very nice, though. The new Mac Desktop update (2.2.1) is a very good one, with a much easier interface for sharing pencasts, pdfs, and AAC files. Like the previous reviewer, I had difficulty at first, but ended up manually downloading and installing the latest software update (my software kept telling me I had the latest, but it was 2.1). It replaced my previous version(keeping all the Pulse files intact), and after the quick install, it began to recognize the Echo without any problem.
The new pen cap is little and fits tight – I suspect it will be lost quickly. It is different than the Pulse caps – smaller, and fits on differently. I don’t notice much difference at all in using the Echo vs the Pulse, but I do find it more comfortable and less dorky-looking. I never considered 4GB to be too little storage, but 8GB certainly allows me to record everything at the highest quality without concern. Interestingly, this pen didn’t come with the recording headphones – which are nice, but way too dorky to actually use. If you are looking to buy a first Smartpen, you really can’t go wrong with either the Pulse or the Echo. If you are a student or an attorney or anyone who needs to recall detailed discussion points, you won’t be sorry. The variety of notebooks now is fantastic.
Note: EVERY high school and college student with learning disorders involving processing speeds, slow writing, Asperger’s Syndrome, or attentional issues should have and use this product. I suspect this will replace “note takers” eventually, as this is FAR less expensive and more effective (see 2008-09 research study from Rochester Institute of Technology).