Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Livescribe Pulse Pens for Education

I will be giving a guest presentation to DePaul University’s School of Education on Thursday, December 3, between 3-4pm at the Lincoln Park Campus. During the presentation I will demonstrate how the Livescribe Pulse Pens can be used in education. The presentation will contain some content that has been repurposed from my Technology Tuesday presentation on the Pulse, and from my Barefoot Vodcasting workshop. If you want to attend, please get in touch with Maria Avgerinou. I will be providing materials and video on this website after the event.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MyScript for Livescribe

Mac users of the Livescribe Pulse pen rejoice (well, those of you using Intel). MyScript for Livescribe is now available for the OS X users. This third-party application converts your written text into digital text (OCR).

You may want to test the 30-day evaluation before purchasing the software – in my experience the conversion process is not as accurate as I would have hoped. However, it is a step in the right direction.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

The World is Open

Last year I attended the CAP (Commission for Accelerated Programs) Accelerated Online and Blended Learning Workshop in Denver, and was lucky enough to see Curt Bonk’s presentations and then share these with my Livescribe Pulse Pen (the complete details and links are on my blog). Little did I know that the experience would turn up in Curt’s next book…

Curt kindly sent me a copy this past week. I appear on page 302. You can read the excerpt whilst listening to the recording.

The book ("The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education") operates as a response to Thomas Friedman’s “The World Is Flat” - demonstrating how learning has been flattened in such a way that "anyone can now learn anything from anyone at anytime." This is both revolutionary and evolutionary. The concepts of traditional education are challenged, as is the role of the university.

Curt positions his argument with ten openers (WE-ALL-LEARN):

  1. Web Searching in the World of e-Books
  2. E-Learning and Blended Learning
  3. Availability of Open Source and Free Software
  4. Leveraged Resources and OpenCourseWare
  5. Learning Object Repositories and Portals
  6. Learner Participation in Open Information Communities
  7. Electronic Collaboration
  8. Alternate Reality Learning
  9. Real-Time Mobility and Portability
  10. Networks of Personalized Learning

There are two versions of the book: currently available is a dead tree version, available soon will be the ebook. The ebook will have same chapter sequence and same size, but different content (including a prequel and postscript). The ebook will be available from https://worldisopen.com in two months (or less).

Here is what Curt has to say on the ebook: “With the firm belief of open education and open access, there will actually be a 2nd free e-book extension (same chapters, same size, different content) since I wrote too much as well as a prequel and postscript. https://worldisopen.com/. This will be out in 1-2 months.”

I highly suggest you take a look at the book, ebook and blog.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ryan Johnson at Livescribe is starting to spamming my blog (and others)

On Tuesday Ryan Johnson posted a comment on my blog:


I’ve read your blog post of the Pulse smartpen and wanted to share some new commercial and demo videos that we just uploaded to the Livescribe YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/nevermissaword From now until 12/31/08, you can get 5% off a Pulse smartpen at www.livescribe.com by using SCRIBE5A50 at checkout. Thanks, and enjoy the videos!


Fair enough – a little bit of promotion for a device (the Livescibe Pulse) I actually liked and have suggested to others. I decided not to delete the comment (and instead posted a reply). 


Two days later he posts the exact same comment on another post on this blog. That was not a good decision. This demonstrates a cookie-cutter approach to Internet marketing. There are ways that smart companies can embrace social media and user-generated-content. This is not one of them.


I checked to see if Ryan actually works for Livescribe. His LinkedIn and TED profiles indicate that he does. I hope whatever search tool he is using to monitor blog posts alerts him to this message:




Social media is a conversation. Your current approach to Internet marketing misses the mark. It goes so far as to do your company a disservice. It insults current customers. You are demonstrating that you are not really reading blogs. You are not engaging in conversation.


You have just motivated me to research the number of blogs you have said the exact same thing on. So far Google tells me there are five, but I am sure the number will grow. Please stop and try something different. There are some great books and courses out there that explain how to embrace social media. Follow good advice and become part of the conversation.


Your company has a great product. Please don’t alienate your customers

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Livescribe Pulse Smartpen Update

I am generally impressed with the Livescribe Pulse pen  (which I introduced to faculty during August’s Technology Tuesday session). I pretty much carry this with me everywhere. It is great for taking notes and the concept of pencasting is extremely innovation. Livescribe just announced that they are releasing the Mac Desktop Public Beta sometime in the next seven days. The Mac desktop offers two new features that I am particularly interested in:

  • Export notes as PDF
  • Export recordings as AAC

Windows users should have the option to purchase Handwriting to Text Transcription shortly. The cost should be about $29.95. The software is offered from VisionObjects.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Tech Tuesday: Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

On Tuesday 26th August I will be presenting this month's Technology Tuesday on the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen.
The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen is a new device that your students may be using to take notes. It records both what is written and what is heard - and then mixes these two streams into what is referred to as a “pencast” (which can then be shared over the Internet). Each smartpen can record between 100-200 hours of audio. The pen is “smart” enough to translate basic text into several languages, as well as basic arithmetic.

Smartpens could be used as an innovative way to deliver lectures and distance learning classes. Smartpens could equally be used as a way to cheat in the classroom. This session will explain

  • How the Livescribe Pulse works
  • How the Livescribe Pulse can be used to record and share lecture materials
  • How the smartpens might be used in the future

The session will conclude with recommendations and best practices.

For more information or to RSVP please visit the Technology Tuesday page.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Curt Bonk Keynote on Livescribe Pulse

Curtis Bonk gave an energizing keynote presentation at the 24th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning in Madison, Wisconsin. I have uploaded the Livescribe Pulse recording of “Technology trends opening access to education worldwide: Now, we all can learn!

The Pulse pen records audio and synchronizes this recording with what I noted in my journal. The shared recording is converted to an Adobe Flash file. You can view the recording on my Livescribe community pages.


  • Web Searching in the World of e-Books (i.e., Darwin)
  • E-Learning and Blended Learning
  • Availability of Open Source and Free Software (e.g., Moodle)
  • Leveraged Resources and OpenCourseWare (e.g., MIT)
  • Learning Object Repositories and Portals (i.e., shared content)
  • Learner Participation in Open Info Communities (YouTube)
  • Electronic Collaboration and Interaction (sync and async)
  • Alternate Reality Learning (Online Massive Gaming, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds; e.g., Second Life)
  • Real-Time Mobility and Portability (e.g., iPhone)
  • Networks of Personalized Learning (Blogs, RSS)

15 Predictions

  1. Five Billion “Have-Nots” Have at It!
  2. Emergence of Lifelong Super E-Mentors/Coaches
  3. Quarter-Century Learning Clubs
  4. Terabyte Learning Access Points
  5. The Veneration of Learning
  6. Personalization+ Portfolios
  7. The Selection of Global Learning Partners
  8. The Shared Learning Era
  9. Teaching-Learning Perpetuities
  10. Teachers, Teachers
  11. The Rise of the Super Blends
  12. Self-Determined Humans
  13. Free Learning Zones
  14. Authentic Learning Amalgamations
  15. Alexandrian Aristotles

I was pretty impressed with the quality of the recording. However, I have noticed a couple of things I would like to change:

  • Typically I take a second or two to cogitate after I hear something profound. Thus, clicking on my notes plays back the audio from a few moments after something of importance has been said. It would be nice to easily jog back 10 seconds from that point (rather than messing with the navigation).
  • I wish I could charge/sync the pen with a mini-USB cable. I forgot to bring the dock to Madison. The pen’s batteries ran out at the end of the first day (a better battery indicator would be nice too).
  • The pen does not have a clip. If I set it down on a fat surface it does have a tendency to roll (typically covering the microphones in the process).
UPDATE: PDF handouts from the keynote presentation can be found on Curt Bonk's TraningShare website.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

First full day of conference

Full day of events at the 24th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning. Managed to pack in as many presentations and workshops as I could following a 6:45 a.m. working breakfast (scary). Met many interesting folks. Filled my brain with ideas. Still testing the Pulse Livescribe pen here - unfortunately I neglected to bring a charger with me and the pen died during a Penn State presentation.... Somewhat ironic.
Curtis Bonk kindly agreed for me to share my Livescribe recording. This should be up Friday night/Saturday morning. Hope the audio came through.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

CAP and Livescribe

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I attended the CAP (Commission for Accelerated Programs) Accelerated Online and Blended Learning Workshop in Denver. I used the opportunity to test a new gadget I had picked up – the Livescribe Pulse. The pulse is a ‘smart pen.” One of those devices that digitizes and stores what you write. The pulse also manages to record audio and link these recordings to what you have written or doodled on paper. Tapping text with your pen on paper plays back what was recorded at that specific time. The technology is pretty impressive.

Unfortunately the Mac client for the Pulse is not out just yet but development seems to be taking place and there is the promise of rich third-party applications (OCR would be nice).

Anyway, I used the Pulse to record everything. I have started to upload and share (with permission). Moving forward I think this will change how I make notes in meetings and presentations.

Plenary Presentation From R2D2 to the Matrix: A Galaxy of Online Learning Style, Motivational, Blended Learning, and Learner-Centered Examples Curt Bonk Professor of Instructional Systems Technology in the School of Education & Adjunct in the School of Informatics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN President of CourseShare and SurveyShareNOTE: Other/older presentations can be found here
Concurrent Small Group Session Best Practices of Blended Learning: Situations, Solutions, and Several Surprises! Curt Bonk
Faculty Training and Development for Online/Hybrid Courses and Programs Lisa M. Bunkowski Assistant Professor, Online Evaluator & Mentor, Park University
Transitioning Ground-based Curriculum to Online/Hybrid Curriculum - Best Practices in Quality, Innovation, and Assessment Deborah O’Reilly Assistant Professor & Department Chair, National-Louis University
Student Panel Student Expectations when Taking Online/Hybrid Courses  
Plenary Presentation Active Learning with Technology: Myths, Magic, and Mucho Motivation Curt Bonk
Concurrent Small Group Session Student Learning in Online/Hybrid Accelerated Courses and Programs - Data Sharing & Research Carrie E. Buri Center Director, School of Adult Education, Concordia University, Madison, WI
Administrative and Technical Considerations, Recommendations, and Innovation when Implementing an Online/Hybrid Accelerated Course or Program Ellen Waterman Associate Dean, Distance Education, Regis University College for Professional Studies, Denver, CO
Online/Hybrid Accelerated Courses: Examples that Work Marti Garlett Vice President for Academic Programs and Professional Licensure, Division of Institutional Oversight and Academic Integrity at the Laureate Higher Education Group, Los Angeles, CA
Interactive Full Group Session Bridging the Skill Set Gap Among Online Start-Up Faculty: Perspectives from A Course Designer and Facilitator Adam Samhouri Associate Director for Partnership Services, Course Designer, New Ventures of Regis University, Denver, CO

The manufacturer of the Pulse have indicated that they will allow users to print their own “smart paper” – this opens up the option of creating Pulse-enabled handouts for lectures. That would be pretty interesting…

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