Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Writers are used in many of the elementary classrooms at the school district my daughters attend.  They are used in the second to fifth grade classrooms to help students with their typing skills.  The students log in using their name and start typing the words shown on the screen.  The writer times the keystrokes typed per minute and their accuracy.  The student can not continue to the next level on the Writer until they have passed the current one with a certain amount of WPM and accuracy.

Each student has one they can use and they are kept in a cart.  The teachers usually have the student work on their Writers 10-15 minutes per day.

What I like about these is that they focus only on typing speed and accuracy.  Unlike laptops and computers where students can get distracted with so many different activities.  I also like that it keeps track of the students scores and displays their rate of speed and accuracy on the screen as soon as they have finished a section.

Smart Pens

Smart Pen technology is a great note taking and studying tool.  The pen captures everything you write.  You can also hit the record button and record what the teacher was saying at the time you were writing or drawing on the paper.  The Smart Pen does require a special paper that can be purchased loose leaf or in different sizes of spiral notebooks.  To see a Smart Pen in action click here

This is a tool that would be used more often in the middle to high school levels.  It would also be a great tool for a college student. With this pen the students notes can also be uploaded to a PC.  Some models of the Smart Pens have an app that you can use with it that makes it possible for the student to use their iOS device microphone for the recoding. 

The above is a close up of the commands at the bottom of the Smart Pen paper.  By touching these commands with the pen the pen know when to start, when to pause, and when to stop recording. 

If you decide to purchase a Smart Pen I would check to make sure what types of devices it is compatible with.  I know different models of the pen are compatible with different types of devices. 



I couldn't talk about technology in the classroom without doing a post on IPads.  With all the educational apps out there for so many different grade levels and needs, of course they are a great tool for the classroom.  The only thing is the two districts I have been in this year, I have not seen many IPads in use.  I think teachers would use IPads in their classrooms more if they had access to more than just one.  This way the teacher could have students work on them in small groups.


The IPads that I have seen in use have been with students with special needs that have one that they carry around with them at all times.  The IPads have apps on them that assist to the students needs and that is a wonderful thing.  I have decided not to talk about any of the educational apps that are out there in this post because there are so many and I would not know where to begin.  If there are any apps out there that you have used in the classroom please leave a comment and let me know what it is and how you use it.