There are a few of you who have been anxiously awaiting my report on the LiveScribe pen. So, here is a brief report!

I convinced one of my Calculus students, who wished to remain anonymous, to take notes during a small section of class. The lesson was on odd and even functions.

I’ve uploaded the written file to my server showing the writing quality of the PDF file that is created by the Livescribe software. You can see it by clicking here, or look at the sample below:

You can see the live Livescribe file (with audio) by going to this page. When you’re looking at the page that has live audio, it is just a thumbnail (a little fuzzy) of the actual page, so I think you would want to print the PDF of the file and then click at different parts of the lecture to use it effectively.

The Livescribe “Community” appears to be a place to share files. This is really going to be interesting, because there are already a lot of folks upset about some websites (like ShareNotes) allowing students to make money by selling the notes they take in class. If lecture notes are property of the professor, and not the institution, then I think it is a serious copyright question that students are making money selling them (not that they are sharing them). If Larry Lessig wasn’t on vacation, I’d ask him about this … maybe someone else can weigh in here.

So now, in addition to sharing notes (although unpaid on LiveScribe), students will be easily sharing the audio files from your lectures. Think on that one! This is, I think, going to curtail a lot of free speech in the classroom. All your administration has to do is go to LiveScribe and find your lectures to hear what goes on in your classroom. While, personally, I don’t care … it could be touchy for those who teach more politically charged subjects. I can see it going awry.

I do think they are going to have more organization to their “community” than simply a general category for “Academics” … that will be a nightmare in no time!

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