Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Pen is mightier than the Board

So I had the opportunity to go to a presentation yesterday regarding a collaboration/presentation technology. The AVerPen from AVerMedia. Currently it is still not available, yet they are shooting for a December release date. You can check out their Site HERE.

Right now in schools and many presentation rooms they utilize White Boards with technology that recognizes some sort of pen. Prometheam and Interwrite are some of the big names. They have their own pros and cons. Personally I have always disliked how people must cover up what they are trying to show. Some manufactors do provide some kind of slate or tablet. The ones I have used, are so so. Although I have never used one very long.

The Basic concept of the averpen is an optical mouse in the shape of a pen, or I should say marker. It doesn't feel too much different than a dry erase marker, yet it has buttons. As you can see from the picture above. It is very accurate with the laser being on the tip. As with an optical mouse you can use most anysurface. Now for you to start writing you must press the tip to whatever surface you are using it on. It causes a little disconnect because it goes in some, unlike a pencil whos tip does not move. I was told and can understand that it just takes some time to get use to.

The really neat thing is it is setup to be used with a teacher/presenter pen and then student/participant pens. So that teacher can be teaching utilizing the pen and then enable feedback and have the students write on board say the answer or try and solve the problem up to 6 at a time, without ever leaving their desk.

They have also included a voting feature, so that a question can be presented and the students can vote/answer the question. Both multiple/single answers. That is what the line of buttons is for on the top half of the pen. She said that up to 60 pens could be used from one dock. So this could allow for some serious answering.

The units come in a started pack of 1 teacher and 4 student, which MSRPs at 799.99. You can get additional Student pens in packs of 4 for 499.99. Battery wise we didn't get too much info. They may or may not be user replaceable. They use a Rechargable battery which is charged through the doc.No Battery meter, which could have been done like some of the laptop batteries. Press a button on the pen and the 5 voting buttons could light up depending on the amount of charge. It was a supposed charge being able to handle 12 hours. I would need to hear more.

Also if the program is open, and/or minized you can use the pen to control windows. Overall I was impressed  and looking forward to getting a par of these. No need to orient and  for one of our rooms where a rolling board would have been the only option, a big need. I'll post more as I have the opportunity to use them again. Probably sometime next May.

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