LiveScribe invents new note-taking approach pen

By Liz Garrett
April 3, 2008

LiveScribe is the company held responsible for one of the newest innovations designed the classroom known as the smart pen.

The business has been targeting college students in particular by strongly promoting their catchy phrase, “Never miss a word.” Cabrini students along with professors have similar skeptical views towards the new note-taking approach the smart pen would provide.

Since May 2007, this device has been acquiring a mass of attention at technology conferences throughout the nation, according to the New York Times. It is also being considered a cure-all for students who are too tired or lazy to put forth the full effort during class. The smart pen is both a recorder and a camera all in one typical ballpoint.

When using the device, the student is capable of having whatever is being lectured stored in the mini-recorder, which is built inside the mechanism of the pen. This technique allows the user at a later date to touch the smart pen to any section in his or her notes and conveniently listen to the teacher or professor’s words. The mini camera creates a link between the written notes and the recording.

“My biggest concern with the smart pen is that it would be used for cheating. I would not want my voice manipulated electronically either,” Megan Clementi, mathematics professor, said. “The risk of academic integrity and the loss of privacy would definitely be an issue for me.”

LiveScribe has even created a page on Facebook to further market the smart pen.

The company has gone another step up with advertising their device by making a paid offer for students in college if they publicize the smart pen at their college or university. The pen alone costs about $200 at this time.

Jim Marggraff, owner of LiveScribe, began his business intending to revolutionize pen-based computing. This new technology has the ability to link the separate worlds of digital devices and paper. Marggraff is aware of the challenge of computing with a pen which is the difficulty of convincing the average consumer.

“I’m not a big user of technology, and I am biased towards thinking that it has the potential to make students lazy,” Marguerite DiMattia, psychology professor, said. “When all you have to do is click a button not much effort is put into the learning process, and I think valuable thinking time is lost.”

LiveScribe claims to have made it possible to computerize a thick ballpoint pen, which must be used on a special dotted paper. ?

The camera is meant to watch the dots move on the paper and record whatever is written down. The elements of the pen include the camera, the microphones, the speaker, the pixel bar and the computer chip. It also has a docking station designed to allow the uploading and downloading of files either from or to a personal computer.

“I think it is a cool invention, but I’m not sure how accurate it could be to record a whole lecture,” Courtney Flaim, sophomore elementary education major, said. “I don’t think I would be the first in line to buy one but if it worked like they say it should, then I would be willing to try one out.”

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Liz Garrett

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