The interactive classroom is no longer something that exists only in science fiction novels – thousands upon thousands of educational establishments around the country are embracing the new learning opportunities technology brings. From iPads and other tablets to podcasts, student intranets and e-learning assignments, modern technology is transforming the way children and adults alike learn and participate in their learning.


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As part of this learning revolution, are increasingly useful in any classroom environment and offer educators, teachers and students many advantages.


1. Some classrooms have begun trialling the use of smartpens as a means of providing rich, personalised feedback on assignments, homework and essays. This can be done in a study group or general classroom setting so all learners can benefit from the annotations and share knowledge and teacher comments. This takes teacher comments on work out of the realm of being directed at only one student and allows everyone in the class to tap into the feedback and use the pointers in their own work.


2. Unlike traditional pen or marker, notes made with digital pens can be easily erased. This means that they can be used to produce re-useable learning materials with diagrams and notes. Some schools have noted that this is particular helpful in mathematics and science lessons. Lecturers at Bristol University have noted that “In particular maths and stats support for students is an issue often raised by academics. Smartpens allow quick and easy creation of high quality re-usable multimedia resources which can be focussed on identified problem areas of learning.”


3. Smartpens are invaluable for demonstration purposes during a lecture or seminar. They can be used to work the classroom through a problem or a practise exam question as a single unit. By employing a system such as e-pens’ YIC classroom set system, all students can contribute to the problem-solving process as each has a smartpen to write on the main board. All users collect via a Bluetooth receiver, creating a collaborative environment.


4. Bristol University has also started trialling the use of digital pens in pencasts, which support user-friendly learning techniques. In the pencast, lecturers are able to add further dimensions to their teaching using the devices to carry out tasks such as adding text to audio or drawing and annotation of diagrams. This helps seminar leaders to talk students through the learning process and help them navigate potentially tricky subjects in a clearer, more interactive manner.