My Magic Pen

Posted by Phoebe Bailey on January 20, 2010

I remember the first time I heard Bill Daggett speak.  It was probably ten years ago when I was beginning my job at an education service center in Arkansas.  One of the upcoming innovations he discussed was a “magic pen.”  He described this as a computer in a pen.  My first thought was that if such a pen were already invented, I’d buy one!  I was about to return to school for an administration certification and thought how much easier such a pen would make my life.

Fast forward seven years.  The magic pen was a reality and I had my first experience with one.  It was not favorable.  I was on an audit team that was piloting the use of a digital pen to upload observation data.  The pen doubled our work!  First, we took classroom observation and interview notes on regular paper; then, we had to rewrite everything on special paper provided with the digital pen.  The problem was aggravated by kinks in the software.

Given that negative experience, I was in no hurry to try out later versions of the magic pen.  My attitude changed, however, at the NECC 09 conference.  I was trying to recall something the keynote speaker had said when a friend of mine whipped out his digital pen, touched it to paper, and out came the speaker’s voice!  This magic pen had not only captured the text but also the audio of the presentation.

Now that is a computer in a pen.  I bought one and love it.  It helps me never miss a word and records everything I hear, say and write, as well as providing links between my audio recordings and my notes.  It has become a life saver in our board meetings.  It is very helpful for clarifing motions and makes taking minutes simple.  Our content specialists use it in demonstration lessons with teachers to model student interviews.

And new functions keep coming.  Recently launched apps help you with such tasks as translating phrases into other languages, checking facts on all sorts of subjects, listening to classical music, and even playing a guitar.  I look forward to continuing to learn more uses for my “magic pen!”  (Oh, in case you were wondering, mine is a “Pulse” pen by Livescribe; view it and other brands here.)