I never thought that I will need one of those, but I bought myself a clicker. To be frank, I have no clue what is the proper name for these things but I call it a clicker. What does it do? It’s a little wireless gadget you hold it in your hand and click a button to change slides. I never had one before, and I never even entertained notion that I may want one at some point. But since I’m teaching now I figured – why the hell not.
So I bought the Targus Wireless Presenter which looks like this:
I’m almost sure that the popper name for this device is not “Wireless Presenter”. To me a presenter, is the person who presents the slides. Targus probably made this name up because like me they had no clue what to call it. :P Either way, it’s a great little gizmo.
This particular model is not really top of the line anything. It’s a cheepo model, and it does feel like it. But at the same time it is fully functional, and perfect for my needs. All I really need when I’m teaching is to switch slides back and forward. This device does just that, and in addition it has a built in laser pointer which works out very well. It also has 2 other buttons: an Alt+Tab like functionality that lets you cycle between open windows and another one that blanks the screen for you. I don’t see much use for the later, but the former one is a nice thing to have.
It takes a single AA battery, and just works. So far every windows box I plugged it into detected and configured it immediately. Then again I only tested it on Win XP so I can’t vouch for it to work in Vista or 2k. It did come without a driver CD though so I’m guessing Targus is confident that it will work on every system. Then again my Sidewinder mouse didn’t ship with drivers either but that’s a whole different story.
My only complaint is that the On-Off switch is unmarked. The only way to know if the device is actually off is to hit the red laser pointer button. If the switch is in the OFF position it won’t work. It’s not a show stopper though. After all I paid $20 for this so it’s not like I’m expecting highest quality here.
The biggest benefit though is what this device does to your presentation style. I love it. It lets me move around much more, and takes me out from behind the lecturer’s desk. It kinda removes that artificial barrier and I kinda felt as if I was connecting with the students a little bit better.
It also works great with animated slides. In the past I used a lot of static slides so that I could get out from behind the computer and point to the things on the projector screen or write on the white board. With the clicker in hand I can have the bullet points fly in one at a time as I speak. The laser pointer is just a nice bonus that let’s me point to things without walking up to the screen or reaching high above my head.
If you teach, or regularly present stuff using ppt, I highly recommend getting a clicker. Not necessarily this one – the Targus is cheap, and it feels cheap. I’m actually paranoid now that it will break on me in a week or two and I will be stranded in the middle of a lecture without one. So far it has been working fine for me though. I’m actually considering buying a second one and keeping it in my bag as a backup.
[tags]the clicker, wireless presenter, targus wireless presenter, presentations, public speaking, teaching[/tags]