Fall 2012:by: Carl Walker, Harding University Center for Learning with Technology
With only one course participating, the results from the Fall 2012 survey are certainly not representative of students across disciplines and yet some value can be gleaned for faculty interested in trying this technology in their own classroom. Being an engineering course, all of these students typically take a lot of notes and most of them had the chance to take notes with the Livescribe Smartpen. It is good to note that it took only 10 minutes or less for the instructor to explain how to use the pen, so most students seem to be able to understand the basics of using the pen in a very short amount of time. Additionally, most of them felt that it was just as easy as taking traditional notes and they typically took about the same amount of notes as they would otherwise. What is interesting is that 20% were able to write less and listen more in class which has implications for class participation and involvement. As far as reviewing notes taken by a student, there did not seem to be any major hinderance other than the note-taking ability of the note-taker. Most students reviewed the notes that were posted for this class and commented that Livescribe notes were useful for having the opportunity to listen to difficult to understand concepts from the professor and that if you had missed something you could go back and check the Livescribe notes to not only see, but hear what you had missed. When asked about pencasts created by the instructor, a majority of students liked them and thought that it would be good if their instructor recorded more of them. A strong majority of students thought that Livescribe overall was useful to them and would recommend it to others.
Comprehensive review of the results:
64% response rate, from one class. Male senior Mechanical Engineering majors tend to prefer both hearing the instructor explain and reading good notes. They all generally take a lot of notes in difficult classes. 100% of respondents used Livescribe in some way.
71% of respondents took notes with the smartpen. It generally took 10 minutes or less to learn how to use the Smartpen when their instructor showed them how to use it and most of them used it to take notes 10 times or less. Concerning the operation of the Smartpen, Most of the respondents strongly agreed that taking notes with the Smartpen was just as easy for them as taking traditional notes with one respondent somewhat agreeing. 80% of respondents never tried more functions with the Smartpen than to record and playback their notes with 20% trying other functions just to see what else it could do. 80% again took about the same amount of notes with the Smartpen as they typically would, with 20% writing less and listening more. 40% or respondents somewhat agreed that they were able to take better notes with the Smartpen than they normally would while 40% were neutral and another 20% somewhat disagreed. 60% of respondents somewhat agreed that they were better able to participate in class (answer and ask questions, listen to my instructor and other students, etc.) while taking notes with the Smartpen than they normally would if they were taking traditional notes while 40% were neutral.
100% of respondents studied Livescribe notes taken by a student. When asked if they reviewed Livescribe notes more than traditional text-only notes, 29% somewhat agreed, 57% were neutral, and 14% somewhat disagreed. 57% of respondents were better able to understand Livescribe notes than traditional notes, while 43% were neutral. 43% somewhat agreed that Livescribe notes helped them remember information better than traditional notes, while 57% were neutral. Respondents either had no complaints about their ability to review recordings or felt that the person who took the notes had the most negative impact rather than audio, video, player controls, or any other issue. 29% somewhat agreed that they did better on tests when they had studied with Livescribe while 71% were neutral. When Livescribe notes were available, 14% of respondents studied with them all of the time, 57% studied with them some of the time, and 29% rarely studied them. Insightful comments include that the Livescribe notes were useful for having the opportunity to listen to difficult to understand concepts from the professor and that if you had missed something you could go back and check the Livescribe notes to not only see, but hear what you had missed.
57% of respondents viewed Livescribe pencast recorded by their instructor. They mostly agree, one strongly, that they liked the pencasts created by their instructor. When asked if they liked reviewing a pencast better then taking notes from what their instructor draws on a board in class, respondents were evenly divided between strongly agree, somewhat agree, not applicable, and somewhat disagree. 50% of respondents somewhat agreed and another 25% strongly agreed that it would be good if their instructor recorded more pencast, with 25% neutral. One comment on pencasts is that they were useful when the student had to miss class.
When asked if Livescribe overall was useful to them, 29% strongly agreed, 57% somewhat agreed, and 14% were neutral. When asked if they would recommend Livescribe to others, 43% strongly agreed, another 43% somewhat agreed, and 14% were again neutral. When asked if they would consider purchasing a Livescribe Smartpen for their own use, 29% somewhat agreed and 71% were neutral.