Not too long ago, we hosted some visitors at our school and spent the morning touring classrooms and having conversations. A number of students joined us throughout the tour and provided their insights into what works in teaching and learning. During an especially productive conversation, one of the visitors took out a notebook and pen and asked the student she was talking to if it was all right to record him. She saw the look of surprise on our faces and explained that she was using a smartpen that would allow her to create an audio recording of their discussion while she took notes. Best of all, she could play it back later by touching the pen to the notes and hear exactly what was being spoken at the time she wrote them.
This was all Nancy needed to hear, and within a few days she had a smartpen of her own. The smartpen came with an instruction manual, but she had difficulty setting it up. Fortunately, she turned to Alex, the instructional technology coordinator at the school, who is as patient as he is knowledgeable. He discovered some short videos on the retailer's website explaining how the smartpen worked.