At the June 28th dinner meeting, Nan Elliott, from Front Range Community College, gave Quota members a demonstration of the Echo Smartpen and paper. Our chapter recently provided money to purchase ten pens for a loan bank at FRCC Office of Disability Services. The pen is a note taking and note organizing tool. It is used to write just like a pen, but it has a microphone in the stem and an optic device in the tip. The note taker uses special pixilated paper with icons at the bottom of the page. The icons, when tapped with the tip of the pen, control functions such as mic on/off and audio volume. As the student takes notes, the pen records what is said in the class. The student will write what he/she can, but knows that when something is missed, it has been captured by the pen’s audio recording and can be listened to later. By tapping the last word written, the audio begins to play from that spot in the lecture so the student can listen again to what was said. The pen comes with earbuds for listening to the recorded lecture and can be connected to a computer with software that allows the pen’s information to be uploaded to the computer so notes can be re-worked and organized into folders. Nan says there is such a demand for the pens, they can only allow students to check them out for a week or two in order to assess whether the student benefits enough that they want to purchase one for themselves.
Quota also recently purchased a Roger Pen microphone for a student at Front Range CC. This student recently learned that she has been gradually losing her hearing for several years which has impacted her learning ability. Now that she has hearing aids, she needs an assistive listening device to maximize her ability to hear the instructor’s voice over the background noise in the classroom. The Roger Pen can be worn by the speaker or placed on the desk in front of the student to pick up the voice of the person speaking into it. The sound is then sent to her hearing aids which have digital receivers that take the signal and send it through the hearing aids to her ears. The “focus” of the pen can be broadened or narrowed to pick up more or less sound so that the listener can hear several speakers or focus on one speaker. We hope this equipment will help this bright student be able to reach her potential in the classroom, at work and other difficult listening situations.
(Written by Kim Miller, Quota Member and Audiologist)