Technology @ High Point, vol. 8

Tech for teaching and learning in our new space

Fill Your Toolbox!

Well-implemented technology gives classroom staff loads of tools for teaching students with a broad range of learning styles. The time investment in learning new technology will make teaching easier and assist students in advocating for their life-long learning. This newsletter PD is intended to help you learn new technologies at High Point a little bit at a time, slowly filling up your teaching toolbox throughout this chaotic school year.

This Week's Tech Feature:

photo of Optimax Trackball and Blueline Joystick

Wireless Trackball and Joystick

This week we are going to look at two pieces of technology that function in much the same way. The Optimax Trackball is a wireless device that allows for control of the cursor using the large ball on top of the device. The Blueline Joystick is a Bluetooth device that gives control of the cursor using the joystick which is very similar to a wheelchair joystick. The handle of the joystick can be changed to a standard stick, a T-bar or a squishy ball. All of these joystick options are included with the joystick.


Both devices can pair with a laptop, Chromebook, or Mac and they require no additional drivers or software. The Blueline joystick can also pair with an iPad and iPhone.


Both devices have recessed buttons on top to reduce accidental activations and switch jacks on the sides to plug in accessibility switches of your choice. The buttons on the Optimax are set for left click, right click and drag. The buttons and switches on the Bluelines can be programmed to meet the users needs and, once programmed, the settings are remembered for any device they are plugged in to.


These two cursor control options are versatile choices to meet the needs of many students.

Who is it for?

The trackball and joystick work great for students with difficulty with fine motor. Unlike a mouse, they do not require the user to hold on to anything. On the joystick, the large ball attachment is the easiest to hold on to without the use of fine motor control. The joystick is great for any users who are proficient in wheelchair joystick control or it can be used as a training tool for learning to use a wheelchair joystick. The trackball can be used with the side of the hand or the back of the hand, or even can be used with the arm or a foot. You can mount the trackball or joystick on a mounting arm to get it in just the right position. The Friction Knob mount with the rectangular plate and some Velcro works great for mounting these devices.


The joystick and trackball can be secured to a table with Velcro to prevent it from being thrown by students. Attach it to a table far from the BenQ board to discourage interactions with the screen by students who may injure themselves by hitting the board.

Setup Instructions

Blueline Joystick Instruction Manual

Optimax Trackball Instruction Manual


This video shows you how to connect the Blueline to your devices:

Introducing BlueLine by Pretorian - Bluetooth Joystick

You can change the 3 buttons on the Blueline joystick and the 2 external switches to be any of the following functions:

  • Left Click
  • Middle Click
  • Right Click
  • Drag
  • Delayed Drag
  • Double Click
  • Swipe Left (good on an iPad)
  • Swipe Right (good on an iPad)

You can also set a dwell click for 1-5 seconds and also make it so buttons buzz when they are pressed. This video will show you how to do all of this programming and return the settings to factory defaults.

How to change the functions on your BlueLine #Joystick

This video shows how to use the swipe left, swipe right and delayed drag settings on the Blueline joystick:

More functions of the BlueLine Bluetooth Joystick/Mouse Alternative

Setup of the Optimax is less customizable but simpler. Put a 9 volt battery in the trackball. Just plug in the USB receiver and the trackball is ready to go.

Maintenance

These devices hold up very well to all cleaners and can be wiped down with Clorox wipes between uses.


Optimax requires a 9 volt battery that should last a very long time (6 months as reported by the vendor) before replacing the battery.


Blueline will require charging following approximately 15 hours of continuous use. This joystick can also be used while plugged in. You just lose the wireless mobility at that time.

Ideas for Using This Tech in the Classroom