Processing the written word

14th January 2005 at 00:00
Jack Kenny discovers a technology innovation that could reduce teachers'

note-taking loads

Mobile Notetaker

Pegasus Technologies pound;127 (ex VAT) from Apcom Ltd Tel: 020 8786 3693

Be honest, a great deal of your writing time is not spent at a computer.

Typing up notes on a computer is a pain. Turn it on, wait, then worry if the battery will last. For most people, writing on paper is still the dominant way. The only problem with that is that you have to type the notes into your computer at some point if you want to use them in a document.

Writing the same thing twice isn't particularly efficient.

There could be a solution. Think of a sheaf of ordinary paper. At the top, the paper sheets are held together by what looks like a large bulldog clip - this is the Pegasus Mobile Notetaker. Think of it as a digital mini-clipboard, with a small screen on the clip. Turn the screen on and as you write on the paper with a ballpoint pen, your words are read, shown on the screen, and stored in the clip. Go back to your computer and you can connect the Notetaker and download the work you have stored and then convert it into "typed" text.

The software is compatible with Windows (XP, 2000 and 2003). You can store not just text but up to 50 pages of diagrams and sketches.

Connect the Notetaker to a projector and you can wander around the classroom with what is in effect a simple clipboard. If you plug the memory unit into the computer and write something with the electronic pen, a virtual "paper pad" will show on the computer screen. It's real interactivity. You can walk around the group and ask for written contributions. A Bluetooth (wireless) version is now under development.

I must admit I had some difficulties setting it up on my computer, but once the initial problems were solved it worked splendidly. At 107 x 65mm, it fits into a pocket. It turns on quickly, no waiting for booting up. You can use any paper and ink refills can be bought in most stationers. The exciting thing is the freedom that it gives.

If you visit the BETT educational technology show at Olympia this week try not to leave without at least seeing this new resource on the Task IT stand, E115.

* See page 14 for ICT revision ideas.

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