This is the 2012-13 Mentor-Mentee Project developed by Juanita Limas, Math/Science Faculty.


 The Livescribe pen technology has been rapidly evolving.  According to the Livescribe website (, there are two pens that are available for purchase: the Echo smartpen and the Sky wifi smartpen.  Both of these pens employ technology that enable the user to not only record their voice as they narrate what they are writing on paper, but it also enables the user to record the pen movements that they perform on the paper as well.  The technology is rapidly evolving, but it has become a very important tool that people in business and education have been using to communicate with various population groups.

For this project, the Livescribe pen was chosen because of the usefulness and skill with which it affords the user to be able to create documents.  With special dot paper that the pen uses, the camera inside the pen takes images of where the pen is writing on the paper, while the recorder in the pen allows the user to talk / narrate while they are writing at the same time.  The camera of the pen is located at the tip and looks similar to the picture shown.  One of the nice things about this pen is that the user can explain and then dictate or narrate what they are writing at the same time.  The entire file is saved as what is called a pencast file and then are able to upload it to the Livescribe desktop.  Once they do, they can provide a URL link to anyone and they then can listen to the audio recording while the person draws on the screen.

Special Uses

This pen can be used for a variety of uses.  These uses will be outlined as part of the mentor-mentee project.


  • Select the appropriate operating system (Mac or Windows).  This process will take a few minutes to download and place on the desktop of the computer you have chosen.

Special Uses

As far as my Livescribe pen, it has changed my world.  I use my pen almost weekly, sometimes even daily for periods at a time.  These are the uses that have served me well with the Livescribe pen:

  • I use it to respond to student’s emails.  Sometimes a student will email with a LONG list of questions, concerns, etc., and sometimes, if our schedules just don’t coincide to meet, I will write out their answers with my Livescribe pen, record it as a pencast, and send it to the student with the URL link, answering their questions.
  • I use it with my disability students in my classroom.  Sometimes I have disability students or international students who, in the past, have said that I speak rather fast.  I know I do.  If they have trouble understanding a concept and try to ask me after class and if I don’t have time or they still don’t understand me, I often will tell them to look for an email from me.  I then go home and record a Livescribe pencast of that concept (anywhere from 3 to 20 min., depending on what they have a question about), upload it, and email the student(s) with my URL link and tell them to go there and listen to it.  They love it.  They always say that it’s important for them to keep playing it over and over and again and they can slow down the speed or print out the drawing I do, etc.
  • I have used it to officially “flip” one of my units in A & P II this semester (Immunology and Lymphatic System).  I recorded about 4 hours of lecture recording as a Livescribe pencast covering both of those chapters in advance.  The students were to listen to the recordings, take notes, and in class we spend time doing case studies instead of the traditional lecture format.  The students did well on their exam for this unit.  They preferred, however, to have BOTH: they like having the lecture component, but also like the Livescribe recordings to serve as a back-up so that they can go back over the lecture again, as it was presented in class, and learn the material again.
  • I used it for my Nutrition students to describe the process as to how to keep a food log and where I would like them to do so on the Internet (SuperTracker through the USDA website since it’s free).  Instead of taking up valuable class time to spend going over how to do this, I did it as a Livescribe recording so that they could learn how to do this on their own.
  • I used my pen to cover the entire Respiratory System, Digestive System, and Metabolism/Nutrition chapters for my A & P II students this semester over Spring Break.  Many of them wanted to have the recordings in advance so that they could listen to them over break and get ahead in the material.  Therefore, I recorded about 7 hours of recordings for them (about 2.25 hours for each chapter) at the beginning of Spring Break, including what their essay questions were going to look like and how they should be drawn, etc., so that they could prepare over break.

So, as you can see, I absolutely LOVE my Livescribe pen.  It’s an incredible amount of work for me, as an instructor, to do because I’m giving a lecture in class and then having to go home and do the lecture again as a Livescribe recording.  However, once I have done this, I can use these recordings for future semesters.  I have a bunch of recordings I did for my A & P I class last summer and fall that I have kept.  When I teach A & P I in the summer in 6 weeks, I plan on pulling out those recordings and making them available to students to get head of the game and start learning the material in advance.

My only complaint with the pens is that it would be SO nice to have a laser, color printer in the department.  The Livescribe paper (pads of paper) are expensive and I would very much like to be able to print my PowerPoints on the special type of paper that the pen requires and make my notes and recordings directly on the PowerPoints.  If we could do that, it would be AMAZING.

2 thoughts on “Devising a Tutorial Packet for Using Livescribe Technology

  1. Juanita, I enjoyed reading about all the innovative ways that you use your pen.

    I have one too, but I have certainly not used it to the extent that you have. I have used it to write out and dictate notes, lists, reminders to my students. The power of the Livescribe pen as an asychronous, RECYCLABLE learnig object really impresses me.

    I have a question. What do you mean when you said that you send them the URL to your pencasts? It has been a while since I have used mine, but I remember just recording, saving and emailing. Where are you storing them on the cloud?

    Thansk for sharing your cool work with us!

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