Recently I was sent a Bamboo Spark to have a play with.  As you know, I’ve always been curious about the co-operation between typing and writing. How one shouldn’t replace the other entirely.  There are times when I still can’t think the same way unless I have a pen in my hand.  For all my love of tech I am constantly on a hunt to find something that will enable the analogue pen to meet the digital world.

Of course, in recent times we’ve got plenty to choose from.  The pens that come with the new iPad’s, Samsung note and Surface Pro are pretty impressive.  What happens though, if your budget doesn’t stretch quite that far? Perhaps an ancillary device like the Bamboo Spark might be a good fit.

Our house has a few Wacom products already . In fact we even have a bamboo sitting on our desk; Matt uses it a lot for his graphic design work.  The Spark seems to be the wireless, cloud based cousin of our older device.  It comes in a beautiful folder and has a pad, a cool pen and a charging cable.  Instead of plugging it into your PC (as you would with our old version) it uses bluetooth to connect to your tablet or phone via an app (The app is available on both the ios and Android echo-system). In the video below I show you how it works with this app on my iPhone.  Take a look…

Don’t despair, if bluetooth can be a bit ‘iffy’ at your site, this little gadget will save up to 100 pages before you have to sync it back to the cloud.  That would mean a whole days worth of notes could be captured before you even needed to sync the data with the cloud.

I was actually pretty impressed with this little gadget.  It’s certainly a big step forward from the Happy Bird – Which I reviewed a while ago and it has a lot of potential uses in the classroom.  When you start to consider this device pedagogically some exciting ideas come to mind.  Particularly with that function to move backwards and forwards through what you’ve created – that could influence the way we ask our students to create their work. Image several layers of paper but one continuous pen recording… changes made at each level… Could get messy… could get interesting!

What about report writing? If you’re a slow, one finger typer and you love writing with a pen imagine how this might increase productivity 😉

Did any particular teaching strategies come into your mind? Ones that would suit your subject or students?  As usual, I’d love to hear them!


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