Teaching With Gadgets

How Technology Can Help Today's Teacher

Friday, July 14, 2006

Salling Clicker - A Presenter's Best Friend!

Last week I was sitting in a presentation and remarked how the presenter would use his fancy IR clicker in order to advance slides on his notebook computer. I've often thought about picking up one of these cool gadgets but I have to admit that there comes a time when a teacher has to say "enough!". I have spent more of my own money on gizmos but am not eligible to claim it either through the school or through a tax write-off.

It was at that point that someone put me onto Salling Clicker (http://www.salling.com/clicker/mac/). The URL is a Mac one but there is also a version for Windows. The premise is simple - use bluetooth in the devices that you already own to make a remote control! Here is how it works: You turn on the Bluetooth function on your notebook, tablet, or desktop that would be hooked up to a data projector for a presentation. Next, you install the Salling Clicker software on your PDA or phone (over 100 models are supported). Run the software on your mobile device and you will be controlling PowerPoint, Keynote, iTunes music, etc. from a distance in no time. I could hardly believe it! It took me 5 minutes to set up and begin using.

Visit their page today and download the trial version for either Windows or Mac OS X.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Back In The Saddle...

Well, after 4 months of not writing, I'm back again. It's been a wild ride for those 4 months with a change in schools, grades taught, and some new platform specific hardware to deal with in the upcoming school year.

I am personally looking forward to the challenge! My new school has opted to go with a Mac OS platform throughout. Having a Mac, myself, this actually made me excited. The features of iLife simply can't be beat, especially when you are dealing with media creation. That's not to say that there are not great programs on the Windows platform. I have used many different software packages with Windows and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. However, when the Mac is coming bundled with this entire suite it's hard to look the other way.

I recently downloaded the Windows Vista Beta 2 from Microsoft. I must admit that I like what I see thus far. The interface is really quite beautiful in comparison to Windows XP. I'm fighting with myself right now as to whether I should install it on my HP TC1100 Tablet. I do not own a USB drive to connect to the tablet and, thus, install all of my software off of my network server. I have not, however, EVER installed an operating system from a network boot and am not quite sure how to proceed. Looks like I'll have to comb through jkontherun.com to see if they have the answer. James Kendrick and Kevin Toffel are an amazing resource.

On the PDA side I have switched away from my Treo 600 and HP 6320. I went out about two months ago and picked up the UTStarcom 6700. Simply stated it's an amazing device. The keyboard alone has made it worth the upgrade. I had heard all about the EVDO speeds but was still amazed when I watched IE load up a page in just a couple of seconds.

Now, my whole issue is: How do you integrate a Macbook, Tablet PC, and Windows Mobile PDA into your daily life without relegating one of those machines to the sidelines. Time will tell....