Livescribe smartpens in the Classroom

Over the past 10 years I’ve spoken to hundreds of teachers and undertaken training sessions at over 150 schools across Australia and New Zealand. This blog post is the first in a series of posts that I’ll publish in the coming weeks so as to address some of the most common questions I get about Livescribe smartpens.

Which smartpen is most popular?

Definitely the Livescribe 2GB Echo smartpen.

  • Its the most cost-effective model
  • It’s the simplest to use – the student just needs pen and Livescribe pad on their desk

How do students use their smartpen in class?

For students the key benefit is being able to capture audio in addition to their hand written notes.

  • Some students will record whole lessons, others use it to capture key parts of a lesson

For students who have difficulty writing or staying focused in class, the Echo smartpen becomes a second memory – allowing them to take brief notes and focusing more on what a teacher is saying.

How do teachers use their smartpen in class?

Typically a teacher will have one or more pens in use in a classroom to support different learning outcomes or student needs. These might include:

  • Providing pens to students with learning difficulties
  • Using the smartpen with sound stickers so as to turn written content such as text-books or posters into interactive learning tools where the pen can deliver verbal content to augment the written content.
  • Creating Livescribe Pencast content that is incorporated into learning systems and blogs
  • Using the smartpen in day-to-day interactions with peers, parents, and administration so as to take better notes

What Livescribe paper or accessories should I buy?

The first question to ask yourself or the end user is what size of paper they prefer to write on – A5 or A4 (or if you’re like me a combination of both).

  • If A4 is your choice then I’d recommend our new 2GB Echo A4 bundle:
    • 2GB Echo smartpen
    • 4-pack of A4 spiral notebooks
    • MyScript for Livescribe
    • 2x Echo black ink refills (provided for free during March 2016)
  • If A5 is the preferred size then the 2GB Echo mobility bundle offers excellent value for money
    • 2GB Echo smartpen
    • 4-pack of A5 notebooks
    • Smartpen A5 portfolio

In terms of other accessories, two in particular are worth considering:

  1. MyScript for Livescribe – this optional software add-on allows you to convert one or many pages of notes into editable text (note that this is included with both value bundles noted above).
  2. 3-D Recording Headset – when plugged into the Echo smartpen, the ear buds become 3-D microphones – improving the range and quality of audio capture. They are particularly useful if a user is going to be in larger lecture halls or meeting rooms.



About Mark Parker

Mark Parker is the founder of Smart Selling International Pty Ltd. Smart Selling International is a niche technology market launch expert - helping technology companies launch and grow their brands in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. Mark is focused on Augmented and Virtual Reality, IoT, and digital data capture devices. You can find him online at - Twitter (@smartselling or @smartpen), LinkedIn -
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2 Responses to Livescribe smartpens in the Classroom

  1. Hi Mark

    That’s for your blog post! I’m an assistive technology consultant here in the United States and have lots of training as well. The Livescribe Pen is a great aide for many students with learning difficulties. I was wondering if you ever get push back about recording audio in the classroom?n This is a major issue for more wider use of the Livescribe Pen in the classroom her in the US


    • Mark Parker says:

      Hi Brian,
      Apologies for the delayed response, I’ve been struggling with the new WordPress UI that makes comment response so had to manage!

      In relation to your comment re audio – yes it has been an issue with some schools – ultimately the schools that push back are those schools that are yet to understand how to harness technology in the classroom. What I’ve found over the past 2 years though is less push back as firstly teachers are networking and sharing knowledge more freely, and secondly, the prevalence of devices such as smart phones and tablets has lowered resistance and seems to have made the recording issue a non-issue.

      My advice to schools or teachers who do raise it is to simply ensure students are aware of their obligations and that there will be consequences for misuse.

      cheers Mark

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