I finally did it. After months of reading the reviews and lusting after the product, I broke down and bought a Livescribe pen.

Livescribe builds smartpens that let you both take written notes and record audio, all with the same device. And in doing so, your handwriting can actually be synced with the audio recording.

That was the big selling point for me as a journalist. I take a lot of notes. I listen to a lot of audio (interviews, keynotes, phonecalls, and so on). Right now, I use a variety of methods: pen and paper, Skype recordings, Cinch, Evernote, for example.

But it's not ideal. If I'm on Skype, it's easier to type. If I'm on the phone, I tend to handwrite my notes. But then, after the fact, I need to consolidate all these various write-ups into Evernote or Google Docs (the two apps I primarily work in). And if there's an audio recording, I need to try to piece together all the various pieces of digital and handwritten media.

So Livescribe seemed perfect. And as I'm heading to the ISTE conference with a schedule chock full of interviews, I definitely needed to get a better system. Now.

I bought the 4BG Echo smartpen, opting for that one that had a larger storage component but that also boasted Livescribe Connect, letting me easily share my notes to Google Docs, Evernote, and email. (Also to Facebook, but meh, I don't really see that as being necessary in my case.)

Unpacking the Livescribe, I was immediately pleased with how easy the pen made the initial user experience. The "interactive getting started" guide made it easy to do just that -- get started with the pen. I might have a longer report post-ISTE about the device -- but likely only if it's a total disaster.

Has anyone else experimented with the Livescribe? Thoughts? Tips?

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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