Smart Pen




“The pen is mightier than the sword…”

The person who first coined this quote must definitely have known about the Smart pen‘s existence! Apart from being the modern-day-classroom-magic-wand-spectacular (oh yes, this tool is just so amazing a new word had to be created smartpenfor it!),  what is the Smart Pen exactly?

What is the Smart Pen?

The Smart Pen is a tool shaped like a pen. It had an ink cartridge, so you can write with it like you would with any conventional pen. However, it does way more than that. It comes with its own notebook. This notebook is made with special paper. Whenever you write on this paper, the pen will also record everything that is being said as you are writing. All you need to do is click where it is written “record” at the bottom of the pages! Later, you can tap on the section of writing you are interested in your notebook and as you tap on the notebook you will hear the recording of what was said previously at the same exact moment when that note was taken. To accomplish this incredible feat, the pen is equipped with a camera where the tip is. This allows its sensors to see where on the paper you are tapping on. The pen also comes equipped with a built-in microphone. It gets even better! You can actually hook up your pen to your computer through a USB portal. This allows you to upload everything you have recorded. You can then listen to them over and over or send/share these recordings with other people! The possibilities are truly limitless!

As a future teacher, I was truly impressed by the unlimited possibilities of this tool.  The Smart Pen is worthy of mention considering how great its potential is to bring the classroom to a whole new level! Here is a video that explains quite clearly how it functions.

The Smart Pen is a tool that has as much potential for the students than for the teacher. Once you integrate its use in your classroom, you will not be able to go back! Think about it for a second, this pen opens up the world to a huge number of possibilities.

How would I use the Smart Pen in the classroom?

  • Record oral presentations: This way students can listen to their presentation. This allows them to hear what and how they said it. You can use this recording to ask them to create an auto-evaluation. The students could also fill-in a correction grid with all the mistakes they hear themselves make. By correcting themselves, they will be less inclined to make these mistakes again.
  • Justify your evaluation: As you are taking notes on the speaker, the Smart Pen will automatically match the notes you are taking with what the speaker was saying at that exact moment. Therefore, if a student does not agree with what you have pointed out, you can justify your point with the exact audio moment in question. This  helps to develop a sentiment of trust between the teacher and the students. When you can justify why you gave them such a grade, students feel that your evaluations are honest and just. They will not have the feeling that they were graded depending on the relationship you have with them, but rather on the quality of what they produced!
  • The power of sharing: Using the Smart Pen in the classroom allows you to share everything that was recorded with your students. You can send them an e-mail with today’s class content. This way, it will help them study for their exam tomorrow. You can send the recording of the today’s class to a student who was absent. This allows the absent student to “retake the class” without compromising your lunch hour! (We all know teachers do not have so much free time to prepare their various activities during the day.

Since a picture is worth a 1000 words, here are a couple of concrete examples of what you can do with this Smart Pen.

As you can see, its possibilities are limitless.

Livescribe also offers various applications and additions for their Smart Pen. Here  is a list of additions with an educational purpose. If the Smart Pen interests you, they are  definitely worth looking at.

Here are ideas for the use of the Smart Pen especially in ESL classes.

If you want more information about this product and its accessories, click here.


iPads in the classroom: To use or not to use?


In this world of ever growing technology, it is even more important for teachers to adapt their classrooms to it. Yes, iPads are known to be used for leisure. They could be a source of distraction. However, if you know how to use them, it is possible to use them in an awesome EFFICIENT way in the classroom! (The more you know your tool, the more you know how to prevent these distractions!)

iPads can be very useful in the classroom. You just need to discover how you can use it, what aspect of it would be useful for you! Here are some examples:

  • Visual support: Using the iPad opens up the window for a ton of visual support. Whether it be a document you found or made on the web, videos, pictures, etc… It is a simplified version of a projector. Also,each student can have access to the image from their own seat. Therefore, everyone can see clearly.
  • Classroom management: Using an iPad, you can hook it up to your board. This way, you can circulate in the classroom as you write. As a teacher, you are no longer chained to that board. It is easier to manage a classroom if your back if not faced to them. There also exists a wide range of applications to help you accomplish a good management of your classroom.
  • Easy correction
  • Facilitates feedback: Through internet, you can exchange e-mails with your students and their parents. You can send them personal messages to give them feedback, or can simply write directly on the assignment that was handed in.
  • Easy access: With the iPads you can easily store your files, your student files and all the other documents you think could come in handy. It is then easier to find what you are looking for through your search engine than through a messy desk.
  • Allows creativity: You have endless possibilities of what you can do with the iPads. It is an invaluable tool for teachers to create their class material. With all the different applications available online, you can easily add a magic touch to any lesson plan!  
  • Endless supply of tools and resources. It’s true! Go search the internet. The possibilities are limitless. A lot of them are free. Why not make good usage of them!

For example, there is this neat application called iPrompt. This purpose of this app is to help the learner  acquire fluency when reading or giving an oral presentation. This app can be very useful in the classroom to help your students read more fluently. It can also be used to improve their speech making skills. How it works? Basically, you can copy the text into iPrompt and then change the speed at which the writing will appear. This way, you can adjust the speed to the student’s level. Here is a tutorial for further information.

There are other apps to help you get free E-books for education and learning. All teachers know the importance of taking all the resources that are offered to you. Not every school had a big budget for new books every year. Therefore, why not take advantage of these free E-books! Here are sites that you should check out on this matter: Project Gutenberg and Baen Ebooks.

To those who are still sceptic, I had the chance to observe the use of iPads within an elementary school classroom. The success was immediate. Students were interested, invested and concentrated on their task. Through conversation with my associate teacher, it was revealed that: “She had never seen them be as concentrated as when they work on their iPad”. Let’s face it, we are dealing with a new generation of students. They are not only used to having technology, they were raised using it. Therefore, teachers can benefit greatly from implementing technology within the classroom. It is an excellent way to increase the participation level of the students in your classroom.

You can always check this site out for even more interesting information and ideas!









Wikis: a cool tool to add to your classrooms!

What is a Wiki?

I learned about Wikis for the first time when I attended this year’s SPEAQ Campus. The presenter Annie Krespil introduced this concept in one of her conferences. Basically, a Wiki is a Content Management System. The most popular one being Wikipedia. It is a collaborative website where anyone can add or modify an article. However, apart from this one site (Wikipedia) that all students seem to use as a reference in their papers, Wikis are a remarkable tool to implement in the classroom. Teachers would benefit greatly from getting to know this tool.


wikiHere is some information to get you started!

Wiki 101

A wiki is a simple web page. Its advantage relies in the fact that it can be edited by many users. Therefore, this allows for a constant interaction between the teacher and the students. They can be used as sources to obtain information and knowledge. Wikis can also be used to create discussions amongst its users and participants. Since it is a collaborative platform, participants learn from each other.

Why use a wiki in the classroom?

There are many different ways as to how  a wiki could benefit a classroom.

Creates a sense of community: There are no direct leaders in a wiki. Everyone is allowed to share, edit and create within a wiki. This creates a sense of partnership and a desire for cooperation among the students in the classroom. Sure, the teacher makes sure that everything runs smoothly. However, the operation of the wiki does not solely depend on the teacher. This also helps to build up the autonomy of the students!

Easy comments: Peers can comment other peers. Teachers can easily comment their students’s work. Teachers may also privately comment certain pieces of work (making their comment only accessible by the concerned student). Parents may also have easy access to the teacher’s comment, making them thus more aware of how their child is doing in the classroom.

Easy access: All the work can be placed online. No more loosing of the copies. No more forgetting the homework. Everything is accessible in one place. This makes it easier for teachers to correct. It also makes it easier for students to search for their homework. Students no longer have to search among their numerous books for that one piece of paper they are looking for. They can simply go online where all their documents are together.


Wikis also have a positive influence upon:

Student Participation and interaction: The students of today are more inclined to participate when technology is involved. ICTs are part of their interests. Students who are interested are more willing to participate in the classroom!

-Group Projects: It makes it easier for students to communicate together. All their information can be found on one place.


How to set up a Wiki? 

As you can see by this video, Wikis are quite simple to set up. The hardest part is choosing with type of server you want to use!  If you have any more questions on this topic, there are many articles and/or videos up on Youtube explaining all the different things you can do with a Wiki.

Furthermore, here is a step by step procedure to start your own wiki.  It can be used as a good checklist when you are setting up your own Wiki!

If you are still unsure as to whether you would see Wikis being a part of your classroom or not, go check these out. They are good  examples to really understand the beauty of a wiki.

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