Preservice Teachers Test Drive Digital Handwriting Recognition Software, Pen Technology January 3, 2013

A fleet of Android tablets with DuoSense Pens will be distributed to a cohort of preservice teachers.

A group of preservice teachers at The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education will be receiving pen-enabled Android tablets this spring to help them with literacy instruction and assessment in the classrooms where they will be teaching. The future teachers who are part of this pilot project are the first in the college to test the cutting-edge technology.

The pilot project is expected to yield an extensive data set that can be used to supplement standardized assessments and help teachers create more individualized instruction and interventions for students.

N-trig, the technology company that produces special pens that can be used with Android tablets, will be providing critical support to the project by donating Duosense® Active Pens.

“In the past, if teachers wanted to maintain digital records about a child’s literacy learning they had to either type up their handwritten notes after a writing conference or use a tablet application that only allowed them to checkbox a few progress,” said Dr. Karen French, coordinator for the College of Education’s IDEA Studio. “With the N-trig active pen, they can detail the student’s progress with specific individualized comments and add recommendations for future lessons. An active pen that allows handwriting in this manner is a game changer.”

The IDEA Studio, which is part of the college’s Learning Technology Center (LTC), is developing a system to help teachers use the handwriting recognition software and pen technology to make student writing conferences more productive and efficient.

Dr. Paul E. Resta, director of the LTC, feels that the new technology not only will help university faculty enhance literacy instruction but also could lead to the development of instructional tools for teachers in all fields.

 “The tablet’s touch and pen combination, powered by N-trig, creates a very natural way to comment, like a pen on paper,” said Resta. “I believe this is an important effort that will not only help university faculty enhance existing methods for promoting children’s literacy but could also lead to the development of tools that will help all teachers. The project, and our partnership with N-trig that helps make it possible, is another great example of how the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin is a leader in exploring cutting-edge technologies to benefit education.”

The LTC provides a wide array of technology facilities and services for the College of Education, with the IDEA Studio helping faculty use technology to improve instruction and research.

N-trig DuoSense® offers solutions to the growing demand for productivity on the move, pen capabilities that allow for more interactive creativity and touch consumption that offers greater potential for simultaneous input. DuoSense® supports Windows, Linux and Android distributions and can be implemented across slates, netbooks, tablets and desktop replacements. It supports all LCDs and a wide variety of industrial design options for mobile products and keeps devices slim and light.

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