Technology Review: Logitech io2 Digital Pen and Notebook

Oct 19, 2007 by

Logitech io2 Digital Pen and Notebook

What is it? You write with the pen in the notebook. The pen has ink. The notebook is real paper. What’s new? The pen uses an optical sensor to store everything you write. Even once the pen is separated from the paper, it stores the pages you have written. When you are ready to upload, you place the pen in it’s USB-linked cradle and it uploads in one click of the mouse. Now everything that was written down is on your computer.

Cost? Retail is $149.95 for a pen and notebook. Of course, you can find it for a little cheaper if you look around on the Internet. You can get several sizes of notebooks. I was able to purchase six standard-paper sized notebooks for under $25 after some digging.

Technical Requirements? Pen, cradle, notebook, io software. This all comes packaged together. To my knowledge, this product does not work on Macs. The pen “package” does come with many ink cartridge refills. I used the pen for four months in six hours per week of class before it needed a refill.

How could we use this technology in the hybrid or traditional classroom? Every day that we meet for my hybrid (part Internet, part classroom) Intermediate Algebra class, a different student takes notes using the digital pen and notebook. They take the notes with them, I take the pen with me and upload that day’s notes to the web site. Very quickly, we established the rule that those students that have been absent are the ones that should step forward to be note-takers, since they get the greatest benefit. The students think this “magic” pen is SO cool!

How could we use this technology in the online classroom? If the technology gets cheaper, or the student could get many semesters of use out of the pen, we could use this technology to have students “show their work” for problems requiring sophisticated use of notation or graphs.

How could we use this technology in our professional lives?
The obvious use of this setup is for those folks who are not trained to create graphs or equations using a computer, but need to be able to communicate such figures using a computer. You can attach the jpg file to an email and send your response to a question quite quickly. I know a professor who takes notes in all his meetings with Grad students with a digital pen & notebook. The student can take the notes, he can cradle the pen and have a record of everything that they jotted notes about and archive the information in a file for that student.

Wish list for this technology? I would like an easier way to convert from the proprietary .pen files to pdf files. Right now the conversion is .pen to .jpg (using the pen software) to .pdf using Adobe Acrobat Standard. A cheaper setup cost would also be great to get mass use for students in online math classes. Also pen software that works with Macs would be a plus.

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