The Recorder Pen from Mantra Lingua is a device, which plays back audio files when they touch special stickers. Each of these small white stickers can be linked with an hour of audio, and it is very easy to record and rerecord an audio note for each sticker using a microphone incorporated into the pen. The stickers cost about £12 for 189 stickers which they can be reused over and over again, with staff or students recording their own audio notes. The pens are about £50 and have headphone sockets so they can be used without disturbing everyone else.
I was recently involved in a workshop at a college where they had purchased some of these pens and they came up with a number of ideas on how they could use these pens;
– Audio labels for images and items in ESOL/MFL lessons
– An audio treasure hunt, giving students information on different parts of a college and clues as to where to find the next label
– Used within an English lesson in which labels are placed around a sentence and students have to press the pen next to where they think an apostrophe might go, and the audio provides feedback
– Audio notes to go alongside different pages in a text book
– Getting students to create their own labels to identify different parts of a diagram on a poster, which other students could then listen to.
– Use the stickers for multi-choice quiz, with each sticker saying ‘correct’ or ‘try again’
– Helping learners with problems reading labels or notes.
There were some criticisms of the device, specificity that some learners might find them a little childish and some found it difficult to control the volume.
Since hearing about this device last week, I have also heard about the RNIB PenFriend audio labeller, which appears to be a virtually identical system (although the method of creating audio notes is even easier) which is specificly marketed as a device for supporting those with visual impairments.