The Office of Disability Services has found a new way to help students take notes during a lecture.
This semester, Disability Services launched a pilot program called the Smartpen. This new pen helps students with disabilities pay more attention to their professor and less on their note-taking skills, therefore enhancing their classroom experience.
The Smartpen, which looks like an ordinary pen, is digitized. It is equipped with a camera that records audio and the notes as they are written.
The Smartpen, which uses LiveScribe technology, is being used to help students take notes instead of providing them with their own note takers. The program is meant to help students with attention deficit disorders, learning disabilities and cognitive disorders, said Director of the Office of Disability Services, William Welsh.
“Say you were taking notes on the Great Depression, and you want to hear what the teacher said after the lecture, you just touch the pen to the words ‘Great Depression’ and the pen will play back what the teacher said,” participant in the Smartpen program, Sean McCarthy (junior-psychology) said.
The Smartpen also comes with a special notebook. It looks like an ordinary notebook, but with special record, stop and play buttons. It also has a hard-drive inside the device that allows students to sync the audio from their lectures to their computers for storage.
McCarthy is impressed with the pen and hopes to continue to use it.
About 60 students are participating in the Smartpen program and have been using the pen since September — officials say it is easy to use and the students have little to complain about. Students who have used the pen also recommend it to any student, not just ones with disabilities, and believe that professionals can benefit from the pen as well.
Disability Specialist Deborah Austin wrote in an email that she believes that the program is an effective tool available for students with disabilities.
“This assistive technology is changing the way students take notes –– the Smart Pen is giving students more control over their own note-taking experience,” she said.