Creating a Livescribe smartpen diorama probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when discussing uses of the Livescribe smartpen in education.
What IS the first thing that comes to mind?
I’m guessing the first thing that comes to your mind is the ability to record audio of everything that happens in a class or meeting and at the same time creating digital notes that are linked with the recorded audio. That’s usually what people think of first. Unfortunately, some people think that is the only thing that can be done with a Livescribe smartpen.
However, there is a whole other realm of activities that can be created with the Livescribe smartpen. In fact, this realm of activities is one of my favorites because it allows students to be creative and to think outside the box.
Please, No…Not Another Cut and Paste Project!
One of these creative instances with the Livescribe smartpen happened when our son, Caden, was in sixth grade. Caden was never much of a “project kid.” Thoughts of cutting and gluing and making things “cute” (all things that prompted unending enthusiasm in our younger daughter) left Caden wanting to poke his eyes out with a pencil.
It wasn’t for lack of creativity that Caden abhorred these projects, but his fine motor control just wasn’t fantastic. His handwriting was “sketchy” (and I don’t mean that in an artistic fashion). The detail work of making projects “cute” was not fun for him, draining all the life out of the learning the project was supposed to encourage. However, he was a gifted, out-of-the-box thinker who kept everyone laughing with his weird sound effects, witty puns, and endless accents and personas.
During this particular sixth grade project, Caden was supposed to create a diorama of a tomb for social studies. Just for kicks, I mentioned that he should do something with the Livescribe smartpen to add the facts to his diorama, stating that this would allow his classmates to actually interact with his project and would be a lot more fun for them (I also was tired of cut and paste projects my kids made that just ended up in the trash). Eager for something that sounded like a lot more fun than another cut and paste project, Caden got some quick instruction and took the Livescribe pen to his room to get to work.
A Livescribe Smartpen Diorama is Born
When he returned with audio dots cut from paper and glued to all the components of his diorama, I was impressed. After listening to them…I was rolling on the floor with laughter!
Caden was proud of what he’d created, anxious for me to hear his results, and he had a blast creating fun comments on each of his tomb components. In this instance, the Livescribe smartpen diorama allowed him to share his creativity in a way that was fun for him, made his project interactive (and definitely more enjoyable for those looking at it), and let him shine in his strengths.
You can see some of his completed project in the video below.
(Please note, I did take the liberty, when Livescribe introduced Sound Stickers, to rerecord his comments onto Sound Stickers rather than the original audio dots that he had created.)
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Think Out of the Box With Your Livescribe Smartpen
If you’ve got a Livescribe smartpen collecting dust on your shelf, we would encourage you to remember it for projects like this Livescribe smartpen diorama and when students might want to go a different direction or need some motivation. Not every student enjoys cut and paste projects (for a variety of different reasons, I’m sure), so you never know just who might surprise you if you offer them a new component to try in their project. Technology can often be a “master motivator!”
This project was completed with a Livescribe Echo smartpen, the smartpen that we recommend for educators.