After Hours

TechRepublic members sound off about laser pointing and remote mouse control

Read what your fellow trainers have to say about how they use high-tech gadgets to enhance classroom lessons.


In “Making your point with light,” Renée Atkinson suggested using laser-light pointers during classroom training and shared some tips for making the most out of these gadgets, which have generated controversy when used inappropriately. Here are some comments from TechRepublic members who agreed, and one who didn’t.

Ask before you point
Here’s what Glen Victor, Trainer, MCP, MCT, had to say: “I find the laser pointers a great tool. What you say is true: Don't point them in students’ eyes. As we don't use overhead projectors, (except in technical classes), I stand in the back of the class, so I can see each student's monitor. When I see a student having difficulty, I shine the pointer at the appropriate place on their screen, say their name, saying, ‘Tamara, try looking in this area.’

“Near the beginning of class I mention to them, that if there's anybody who has any problem with me using the laser pointer, let me know, and I'll stop using it. Only one time has a student asked me not to use it.”

Beware of glare
JeffH wrote: “I agree with encouraging people to use laser pointers, and I am surprised more people don't. Neither in the business environment, nor in the classroom do I find speakers using laser pointers. They just haven't caught on yet, eh? I can see a real benefit to using pointers when directing someone at the PC, but I have been hesitant to use the laser pointers on monitors. I have been afraid of unperceived (and possibly damaging) reflections back to the user. Is this an unnecessary fear?”

If one is good, four must be great
Kalél, MCP+I, MCSE, offered these comments: “I have used laser pointers in the classroom for about two years now, and the difference has been tremendous. I pilot my projected presentations from the rear of the classroom, so proximity to the pointing device (Logitech Marble in my case) is not a problem, and I have four laser pointers, each equipped with different tips, i.e., arrow beam, underline beam, etc.

“Attention is good and the flow of information is rarely interrupted with questions for clarification. When I instruct courses on topics of hardware, the laser pointer allows me to highlight the exact component I am discussing. This is particularly helpful for those students who have never opened a computer cabinet. During classes involving networking or applications software, I can be several rows away from a terminal and still guide an uncertain student through a given process without having to wade through his or her classmates to do the same thing. All in all, it saves me time and my students respond positively to its use. Like any tool of instruction, it should not be overused or it loses its effectiveness.”

Get the pointer/mouse
SteveC posted this comment: “A laser pointer does not allow me to control the computer while roaming the classroom. A much better solution is a remote mouse. My favorite is the GyroPoint mouse. It can be changed to a laser pointer when it is needed.”
To respond to these comments, or to share your own experiences using laser pointer or remote-control mouse devices, please post a comment below or drop us a note.
In “Making your point with light,” Renée Atkinson suggested using laser-light pointers during classroom training and shared some tips for making the most out of these gadgets, which have generated controversy when used inappropriately. Here are some comments from TechRepublic members who agreed, and one who didn’t.

Ask before you point
Here’s what Glen Victor, Trainer, MCP, MCT, had to say: “I find the laser pointers a great tool. What you say is true: Don't point them in students’ eyes. As we don't use overhead projectors, (except in technical classes), I stand in the back of the class, so I can see each student's monitor. When I see a student having difficulty, I shine the pointer at the appropriate place on their screen, say their name, saying, ‘Tamara, try looking in this area.’

“Near the beginning of class I mention to them, that if there's anybody who has any problem with me using the laser pointer, let me know, and I'll stop using it. Only one time has a student asked me not to use it.”

Beware of glare
JeffH wrote: “I agree with encouraging people to use laser pointers, and I am surprised more people don't. Neither in the business environment, nor in the classroom do I find speakers using laser pointers. They just haven't caught on yet, eh? I can see a real benefit to using pointers when directing someone at the PC, but I have been hesitant to use the laser pointers on monitors. I have been afraid of unperceived (and possibly damaging) reflections back to the user. Is this an unnecessary fear?”

If one is good, four must be great
Kalél, MCP+I, MCSE, offered these comments: “I have used laser pointers in the classroom for about two years now, and the difference has been tremendous. I pilot my projected presentations from the rear of the classroom, so proximity to the pointing device (Logitech Marble in my case) is not a problem, and I have four laser pointers, each equipped with different tips, i.e., arrow beam, underline beam, etc.

“Attention is good and the flow of information is rarely interrupted with questions for clarification. When I instruct courses on topics of hardware, the laser pointer allows me to highlight the exact component I am discussing. This is particularly helpful for those students who have never opened a computer cabinet. During classes involving networking or applications software, I can be several rows away from a terminal and still guide an uncertain student through a given process without having to wade through his or her classmates to do the same thing. All in all, it saves me time and my students respond positively to its use. Like any tool of instruction, it should not be overused or it loses its effectiveness.”

Get the pointer/mouse
SteveC posted this comment: “A laser pointer does not allow me to control the computer while roaming the classroom. A much better solution is a remote mouse. My favorite is the GyroPoint mouse. It can be changed to a laser pointer when it is needed.”
To respond to these comments, or to share your own experiences using laser pointer or remote-control mouse devices, please post a comment below or drop us a note.

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