Livescribe computerized pen helps students with disabilities

By: Sharon Langer

Picture of the Echo Pen slightly tilted on a angle as if it was being used to write.

The UC Berkeley Disabled Students Program did a pilot test of a computerized pen using its students with learning disabilities. The goal of the study was to see if use of the pen would eliminate the need for note takers in the classroom. Forty students with a variety of physical and learning disabilities participated using the Echo Smartpen. The smartpen records audio from the classroom, along with a digital version of the student’s handwritten notes and syncs the audio and notes, and then they can be accessed for review through the pen itself or through Livescribe’s computer software.

The pilot project revealed several things: the pen reduced classroom anxiety about taking notes, so students were able to concentrate and pay better attention. If a student was an auditory learner, the pen was a big help, but if they had an auditory processing problem, the pen offered little benefit. The smartpen is another tool that may help in the educational setting and is readily available now for those who might benefit from its use. They cost around $120 dollars and may be a tool for your student.