Digital Smartpen Learning Resource for Attention Deficits

Empowered students with attetion deficits gain academic success!

A digital smartpen can be an effective learning resource for students with attention deficits.  A digital smartpen employing the latest digital and audio recording technologies like the Livescribe Pulse and Livescribe Echo have transformed digital pens from mere writing instruments to multimedia communication tools. For many high school and college students who suffer from ADD and/or  have persistent patterns of inattentiveness and inability to concentrate, the new smartpens represent learning aids of enormous power, providing unprecedented opportunities that empower the student at every stage of the learning process.

Many disorders can affect a student’s ability to sustain attentiveness and attain success in school. The loss of a parent, relative or close friend causes depression or withdrawal. Attention deficits may become more apparent as academic demands become increase and the work more complex.

Students with attention deficits or ADD may be easily distracted, have difficulty listening and remembering verbal information.

Some ADD students may have problems understanding spoken language, distinguishing one word from another. ADD impaired students may suffer many of theses symptoms as well as having difficulty organizing and managing papers.

Digital smartpens like the Livescribe Pulse and Livescribe Echo provide new learning resources for students dealing with attention deficits. By providing a pen that combines automated recording capabilities with an automated dictation system, they provide a foundation for the ADHD student’s academic success.

How digital smartpen technology works
The technology works like this: In conjunction with special dot paper, the pen digitally records whatever the student writes and draws as well as capturing a complete audio recording of the sounds made while the student is writing or drawing. A complete integrated recording of notes, drawings and audio can be played back by touching the pen to the dot paper at the desired point the integrated audio was initiated.

The recorded digital information can be stored on the pen for use and update 24/7. The digital content can also be transferred to the student’s computer for storage, searching, retrieval, editing, review, and transmission to other formats or other users, just like any computer file.How smartpens empower the learning of students with ADHD

The multimedia recording of information optimizes each stage of the student’s learning process, from capturing an integrated audio recording, to recording notes taking and drawings, creation and organization of notes for studying, research, test preparation, and paper writing, and supporting communication and sharing of notes.

Can a Smartpen help an ADHD Student gain academic success?

1. The Smartpen can address the student’s inattentiveness.

It can capture a complete recording of all the student hears, writes and draws for replay at a later timeIn the audio recording phase, the smartpen acts like an expensive piece of audio recording equipment, one that the student can keep in the student’s pocket to capture a complete record or a simple conversation with a teacher. The student turns RECORD on and does not need to take notes during a lecture or conversation.

Recognizing that he missed some of what was heard, the student can search pen content for the desired integrated recording and replay the entire lecture or conversation with volume and speed controls set based on student needs.

With a smartpen, students can now capture a complete audio record of the teacher’s presentation alone or simultaneously with writing a few important keywords or drawing a simple picture.

Students who write slowly or illegibly may find this pen’s digitized note-taking capability helpful. Recording a few keywords can help the student search notes to replay again and again. The audio notes can help students decipher the notes that may be difficult to read and understand.

This audio capability can assist students who find their teachers’ presentation style difficult to follow. Some teachers are very knowledgeable in their subject but may be difficult to hear, unorganized in their presentation, or emotionally uninspiring. This makes listening very difficult for a student with attention deficits.

In this situation, supplementing the original presentation with digitized written and audio notes provides students with additional means to absorb the information.

2. The Smartpen can address the student’s inability to follow directions

The digital smartpen can record clear, consistent narrated directions and step-by-step instructions; it can be used as an Automated Dictation System.

Often a student with Attention Deficit Disorder or other inattentiveness disorders has problems following simple or complicated directions, or carrying out multi-step directions. The student may have trouble following verbal instructions or guidelines. Not with a smartpen! The student can use the smartpen as an Automated Dictation System, to narrate guidelines, stories and step-by-step instructions. The student can replay a step or a portion of the instruction as often as necessary. The pen can be like an automated narrating system, available whenever the student needs it.

3. The Smartpen can address the student’s distractibility

Because of problems with distractability and poor concentration, many teens and young adults with ADHD may struggle in school. Many become bored with a task after a few moments, or they miss details.  Students who have trouble paying attention or remembering information presented will be able to record the entire lecture or conversation and replay the entire recording or a section at a time, when the student is ready to listen. Similarly, students who have difficulty with multi-step problems can replay the recording one step at a time, following the directions for each step.

4. The Smartpen can address the student’s poor concentration

Even students who write quickly and fluidly will find taking notes with the smartpen easy as they are freed from the task of taking notes. They can focus on what the teacher is saying, on understanding the material!

Even if the student becomes bored with the lecture or distracted and the student’s mind wanders, the pen will continue to capture a complete record of everything the teacher says, and questions and answers following the lecture.

5. The smartpen can help address general disorganization

Digital smartpens like the Livescribe Echo and Livescribe Pulse have capabilities to help students organize, manage notes. and access notes.

At the end of the day, the student can charge the battery and upload the integrated recordings to the 500MB personal web space, the Livescribe Desktop. The student can organize stored information by keywords such as subject,  teacher and date.  The student can create customized “digital notebooks,” searchable by keywords such as teacher, subject and date and by keywords the student or teacher records during the lecture or conversation.  If the lecturer is discussing the Mediterannean, and mentions Egypt, Greece, Iran and Iraq in succession, the student can access content by the keyword “Egypt”.  Then the student might skip to “Iran”, and so on. The student can listen to as much content as desired, in the order desired.

Digital pens streamline the review and reinforcement process as students can review recorded information in multiple formats. The recording of integrated audio, handwritten notes and drawings is called a pencast. Pencasts are stored on the Livescribe Desktop and more can be imported from the Livescribe Community online.

PDF files can be also be imported from other computers or via mobile phone.   Lectures or lessons and instruction may be recorded on Livescribe Desktop or imported as audio files. The student can review these recordings at home and integrate content in a Custom e-Notebook. Content can be replayed at any desired speed for listening comprehension, speaking practice, or writing practice.

When it comes to writing papers, digitally recorded information on the Livescribe Desktop provides ready raw material for research and writing purposes. Reference tools like encyclopedias and dictionaries can even be integrated with digital pen technology.

The student can create a virtual Custom Notebook for a research paper, by dragging and dropping information on the Livescribe Desktop and reorganizing notes to create the paper. Information can be imported from other computers or via mobile phone and added to the Custom Notebook.

The student can also use the smartpen’s file sharing features to make virtual group sessions over the internet possible. Custom “virtual” notebooks can be created and sent to friends, parents or teachers, these “penmails” facilitate online communication.

Pencasts and notebooks can also be printed or exported as PDF files or CDs. They can also be exported to the Livescribe Community Online for sharing with classmates and teachers who do not need a Livescribe Smartpen for access.


Armed with a digital smartpen as a powerful resource, a student with ADD or attention deficit disorder has a learning resource which will empower the student  in school environments. The student with attention deficits can record, review, recite, and share information more efficiently than any previous generation with same hearing deficits. Knowledge is power, and if the pen has always been mightier than the sword, it is now.

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