Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - wireless tools

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Over the years, I've purchased some technology that has made my teaching life easier.  The first purchase I made was this clicker.

The clicker made it so much easier for me to teach using PowerPoint presentations.  I could walk around the classroom instead of sitting back at my desk where my computer was.  All I had to do was plug the receiver into the USB port on my computer, turn the clicker on, and I was good to go.

Then, I wanted to show videos embedded into my PowerPoint presentations but I didn't want them to start automatically.  I had no way of doing this with the clicker.  So I purchased a wireless mouse.  I lucked out and found one in my favorite color - red!  Same thing as the clicker, I could plug the receiver into the USB port on my computer, turn on the mouse, and I was good to go.  Since I had 2 USB ports on my computer, I could use the clicker and the mouse at the same time!  This was nice when I wanted to quickly click through a presentation but then still have the chance to switch to something else without needing to be at my computer.

The wireless mouse was also a wonderful purchase because I used it as an incentive for students.  If we were doing something on the computer and I needed student participation, I could pass the mouse around the room for the students to use from their desks.  No more germs or sticky fingers on my laptop!

But then I ran into the problem of wanting to type when I was away from my computer.  I purchased wireless keyboard.  The one I bought also had a touchpad for a mouse.  It was cheaper for me to buy the keyboard with the touchpad than the one without.  I felt like I didn't need the wireless mouse I bought, but I found I still used both.
Sometimes I didn't have the keyboard and I wanted just the mouse.  Other times, I didn't want to carry the mouse around the room, so I just used the keyboard.

The next problem that I ran into was I only had 2 USB ports on my computer and I need 3 in order to connect all the technology tools at the same time.  So I purchased a USB port hub with 4 additional USB ports.  I never run out of space now!  I keep the receivers for the clicker, mouse, and keyboard plugged into the hub at all times so I just have to plug in the hub when I'm ready to use any of the tools.

These were all worthwhile investments.  It helps with classroom management because I'm not stuck sitting at my desk.  I can walk around and encourage students to stay on task and continue my lesson at the same time.

What has made your teaching life easier?  It could be a technology tool, but it doesn't have to be.  I'd love to hear tips to make teaching easier!

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