Technology @ High Point, vol. 8
Tech for teaching and learning in our new space
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This Week's Tech Feature:
Wireless Trackball and 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.
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
- 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.
This video shows how to use the swipe left, swipe right and delayed drag settings on the Blueline joystick:
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.
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
Wirelessly connect the Blueline joystick to a laptop and cast the laptop screen to your BenQ board. Put a soundboard on the screen. Pass around the Blueline joystick to let all students have a turn choosing a sound effect to add a little excitement to your morning meeting.
Writing by Trackball
Connect the Optimax trackball to the student computer. Use Whiteboard.chat to create an interactive board for students to move letters around and compose words. Use the drag button on the trackball to move the letters on the screen.
Connect the Blueline joystick to an iPad. Open a communication app and use the Blueline to navigate the app for communication. The iPad can be mounted where it is best viewed by the student and the joystick and switches can be mounted where they are best reached by the student.