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U Texas Ed Students Apply Tablets and Pen Technology to Literacy

A group of education students at the University of Texas at Austin will be experimenting with the use of Android tablets and pen technology to use in their pre-service literacy instruction in the classrooms where they student-teach. The experiment will outfit future teachers at the university's College of Education in order to help them develop personalized instruction and interventions for their students.

N-trig is donating a set of Duosense Active Pens to the project, and the college's Learning Technology Center is distributing a fleet of pen-enabled tablets. The pen enables users to write and annotate directly on-screen as they would on a textbook or piece of paper.

The pre-service teachers will use the duo to maintain digital recordings of their handwritten notes during writing conferences with students. The IDEA Studio, which is part of the center, is developing a system to help teachers use handwriting recognition software and the pen technology to make student writing conferences more productive and efficient.

"In the past, if teachers wanted to maintain digital records about a child's literacy learning, they had to either type handwritten notes after a writing conference or use a tablet application that only allowed them to checkbox a few progress categories," said Karen French, IDEA Studio coordinator. "With the N-trig active pen, they can detail the student's progress with specific individualized comments and add recommendations for future lessons. An active pen that allows handwriting in this manner is a game changer."

Added Learning Technology Center Director Paul Resta, "The tablet's touch and pen combination, powered by N-trig, creates a very natural way to comment, like a pen on paper. I believe this is an important effort that will not only help university faculty enhance existing methods for promoting children's literacy, but could also lead to the development of tools that will help all teachers."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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