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.)

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Phoebe Bailey

Phoebe Bailey is director of the Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative in Hope, Arkansas and a member of the Arkansas TICAL cadre.

4 thoughts on “My Magic Pen”

  1. I am glad to learn that the Magic Pen is truly Magic now. I also used the one with the special paper and found it to be more trouble than it was worth. You have inspired me to give it another try with the new and improved model. I am amazed at all the uses you listed. As you learn more uses for your “magic pen”, please continue to post them.

  2. Gadget Overload

    Like you Phoebe, I have been exposed to these pen gadgets over the years. Everything from some Cross pen with special paper to the ones they have developed now. My problem is with these new gadgets is the limited availabilty for storing the devices in my current attire. I refuse to adopt the “tech clothes” or “tech vest” look with pockets everywhere on the vest or pants legs. I also refuse to adopt the metro-sexual look of the “man purse”. This leaves very little room for my USB drives, my wallet, my cell phone (no I don’t use ATT) and my iPod Touch. I would prefer that they develop a finger pen that contains all those features on a “ring” that fits over the top of the index finger that can write, record and then give a virtual display of web pages AND include a phone that is usable on the Verizon network. I believe that Google will soon be developing this device since they have searched these comments and realize there will be a market.

    Take a look at Google Labs for innovations that are being developed currently. http://www.googlelabs.com/

  3. The Magic Pen would be a wonderful tool for administrators. I would like to utilize it as I observe in classrooms as well as taking minutes during meetings. I checked the website you referred to however, I would like more details on how they actually work and other equipment needed in addition to the pen in order to record and transfer the data to a computer. Also, with the many different brands available on the market I would like to know through others what they recommend to be the best one to purchase.

  4. Karen,
    To help you choose a pen I suggest you visit the Amazon link Phoebe provided and read the customer reviews. I find them helpful in making decisions about what to buy. Be aware that some of the pens listed in that link are designed for tablet computers, not for “paper.”

    Bob,
    Your comments made me chuckle! I have been a fan of small purses for years. But I recently had to “upgrade” my purse to a larger size to carry my gadgets!

    Geek Girl Test: How do you know you’re a geek girl? When you buy little cosmetic bag to carry in your purse; not to carry cosmetics but to protect your iTouch! (Of course you previously pimped your iTouch with a snazzy protective case but you want to keep the case looking nice!)

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