Meet the Equil Smarten 2:
The Equil Smartpen retails on Amazon for roughly $124. Not only can you write notes, but your creations can be shared in real time using Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, email, and many other applications (ex: Evernote, Notability, etc.)! While the price may seem high, its functionality gives it multiple purposes, which may end up saving your school money in the end. For example, Elmo projectors (cost: $260) are quite popular in classrooms, as they allow students to view via projector handwritten notes a teacher is making in real time (ex: doing a sentence diagram, for example). Not only can the same task be done using a smart pen, but your notes can be live streamed, using the Equil Notes stream, to multiple participants and allows them to add to the note (think of using this for virtual lessons!) and can be saved for future reference.
This tool can also be used for student conferring, allowing you to take notes on students during conferences, and drop them directly into Googledoc folders for both students and/or parents to see. Getting formative feedback just got easier.
As an administrator, walkthrough observations can’t get any easier. Scripting observations while in class, notes are automatically converted to a PDF file, which can be emailed directly off to the teacher as soon as your observation is complete. While the pen itself doesn’t record audio, the Equil Note application (installed for free on your iPad, iPod, phone) does allow for the inclusion of not only audio, but images as well! Unfortunately, the computer based application only allows for the inclusion of pictures.
A couple of things to be aware of:
- The Smarten needs to be paired with an adjoining bluetooth device in order to share the information with (i.e. phone/iPad). It’s a fairly straightforward process to pair the devices.
- The pen is paired with a receiver, which needs to be fixed in place when writing (or the image gets messy)
- If your Bluetooth device (i.e. phone) goes to sleep when using your pen, as soon as your receiver ‘connects’ with it upon waking, it will automatically update your document (it asks if you wish to ‘merge’ your new information into the current page, or create a new one). You can also elect to disable the bluetooth connection (in pen) to save battery power, then reconnect later and download your scripts.
- Battery lasts about 8 hours.
- No special paper is needed.
- You can email notes or share online via Evernote and Dropbox (or even Apple’s Airdrop).
- You can also stream notes out to others in real time (they need Equil Note).
- The desktop version on Equil Note (the application) does not allow for audio recordings (however the iPad and iPhone app does)
- The desktop version allows for direct synching with Evernote and Dropbox, but not Googledocs. The mobile version allows for synching with Googledocs (and more).
- Streaming with others appears to work better on the desktop version (mobile device streaming seemed to ‘hang’). – this can also be password protected.
Here’s a sample of some notes I took: