Sunday, May 16, 2010

xPaper - Great Digital Pen Solution

I have been a long time user of digital pen technologies and am always amazed by its feature set and simplicity. At the core of digital pen technologies is Anoto functionality which gives software developers the tools to create innovative solutions. For the past several years I have been using a solution from Talario called xPaper. In it latest iteration xPaper, lets you print your forms on ordinary paper and write on the form with the digital pen. Once the pen is docked the ink is automatically downloaded to the form and within seconds you have a crystal clear PDF of your contents that you are ready to add to your work flow.

xPaper is comprised of several different components; the xPaper software, the xPaper printer driver, and a commercially licensed digital pen. Once you load the xPaper software and XPaper printer driver you are ready to get started. You simply open any form on your computer and using the xPaper printer driver you print the form on your color printer. Talario has a list of suggested and approved printers that can be used with their solution on their web site. Once the form is printed you will notice a light watermark dot pattern on your print out. These dots allow the digital pen, which has a camera at the base to know exactly where the ink is being written. It is quite ingenious to say the least. Now all you have to do is write on the paper and dock the pen to see the results. Within seconds the ink appears on the form and you are ready to add it to your work flow. Talario has a number of Connectors that let you decide what you would like to do with the form that is stored in the xPaper application. Using one of the connectors you could easily send the PDF to your Gmail account or FTP it to your server. In any case with a couple of clicks of the mouse you can transpose your form into a digital document and archive it.

This past semester I was teaching a graduate course in Action Research and utilized xPaper to record my biweekly meetings with my students as I mentored them through the process. To get started, I printed my Conference Log Sheet with xPaper and once the students met with me I would record our session notes with the digital pen along with my expectations for our next meeting. When my student's left our meeting I would hand them the form as a review of the session for them as a take away and then I would dock my pen so that I had a record of the meeting. xPaper worked flawlessly and many of my students remarked at the end of the semester that having the progress notes really helped them to move through the process. Using xPaper saved me a great deal of time, energy, and paper. Having my students' archived notes on my computer that I could quickly access worked out extremely well for me as well. Now that we are in the process of accreditation it is great that I can archive this information.

If you are looking for ways to add digital pen and paper solutions to your work flow send me an email and I can share with you how you can use Xpaper in the work that you do to increase efficiency. xPaper is ideal for anyone who uses forms on a daily basis and needs a way to move them to the computer for backup and archival purposes.

 
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