Smart Pens: A Game Change for Students with PWS

In the earlier years of my educational journey, I struggled in school. I was falling behind in my classes, asked a lot of questions, missed taking all of my notes down, always needing one on one assistance, and was slowing down the class due to the teacher having to repeat what he had said so I could understand. By the end of fifth grade, I was told that I needed to be in a school that could accommodate my learning disability, because the elementary school that I attended no longer was able to give me resources, so I could be a successful student. At this time, I was behind in my reading and math skills and no longer at grade level.  At that time, I did not have any technology that could help me to ease my stress and anxiety levels. I could not focus in school and was making average grades at a C level or below. Due to my struggles, I had to attend Valencia Elementary School which had a Special Education Program for sixth grade. Throughout my Junior High and High School years, I had a combination of Special Ed and mainstream classes. During my Junior College years, I used and struggled with tape recorders, note taking techniques, and aides helping to take notes during classes. My early breakthrough was when I got a “real” student note taker, which led to the introduction of the smart pen.

While attending Cal State University of San Bernardino, the SSD (Services to Students with Disabilities) provided me a smart pen, smart pen kit with ink, and a smart pen notebook. When I started using the smart pen, I was able to record my lectures and take notes at the same time. Also, I was able to create my own study guides and highlight important information. The smart pen allowed me to pinpoint important material needed for my tests in my classes. As a result of using the smart pen my study time was reduced, information in the lectures was never missed, my stress and anxiety levels were reduced. I became more relaxed and did not have to rely on writing everything the professor was saying and I can just write the important things down. By having my smart pen, I was able to comprehend the material better, was able to keep up with the rest of the class and received all A’s and B’s. If I had the smart pen earlier in my education, I would not have gone through the obstacles that I faced throughout my early school years. In my opinion the smart pen is an unbelievably valuable resource for students with PWS.

Learn more about available Smart Pens here.

Contributed by Spencer Ginyard

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