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Oregon School Pilots Use of Wi-Fi Livescribe Smartpen

Opal Public Charter School in Portland, OR is participating in a pilot program sponsored by Livescribe to test the use of Sky, a new Wi-Fi smartpen introduced by the company in October. The results of the program will help determine how the pen will be marketed to educators, how students and instructors will be trained, and what additional services may be offered. Sky will officially be launched in the education market in early 2013.

The idea of the "smartpen" is to capture the audio and written contents of a lecture for later review. Teachers can also record interactive lessons or homework assignments, called pencasts, and post them to a class blog or learning management system, where students can go over the material from a computer or mobile device before class, in a flipped classroom model.

The Wi-Fi smartpen digitizes whatever a user writes and hears and automatically uploads it to a personal Evernote account, which can be privately shared with students, parents, and teachers. From there, the user can search, play back, organize, and share notes. That digital content will be available in multiple media, including paper, tablet, smartphone, and computer.

The pre-K-5 school will explore how students can use smartpens to create more dynamic and informative digital portfolios that show their growth over the school year, as well as across years.

"We're creating digital student portfolios to catalog students' ideas, assignments, and projects throughout the school year and to give students a unique way to document, reflect upon, and share their own learning. We believe the Sky Wi-Fi smartpen will make it simple to sync pencasts with Evernote notebooks for each student, bringing their portfolios to life," said Rob van Nood, anchor teacher for the pilot program. "These digital portfolios provide teachers and parents with a unique opportunity to track student growth and progression throughout the year, in a more dynamic, accessible, and easy-to-share format. With digital portfolios we are able to identify and address each student's individual needs."

The pilot program is scheduled to be finished by spring 2013, at which time Livescribe will share highlights and results of the program.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.