Magic Trackpad in the classroom

Q. How long does it take for kids to figure out how to use new hardware?

A. Just as long as it takes for the box to be opened, software update to take place and the teacher to connect the device.

This morning one of my parents arrived with a present for our class – an Apple Magic Trackpad! Not to borrow – to keep. This parent is a fellow machead and we often talk about how various devices might be used in the classroom but the gift was still unexpected.

R9Trackpad

Actually connecting it to my MacBook was easy but I had to do a software update in order to use all the functions (click the tap/click etc). That required a little more time (30 mins once I’d disconnected the data projector cable) but still not too long. Once I had it all connected I tested the distance I could go before losing the bluetooth connection – I didn’t actually find out what that was as it remained connected everywhere in the classroom and even out in the corridor!

Maths was the perfect time to test it out. I stood at the back of the students (who were sitting on the mat) and opened up our class wiki then our maths wiki and went to our probability page. From there I first went to Mr Anker’s Probability page and got the students to pass the mouse around the class as they answered the questions. Then I opened up the BBC Fish Tank activity, zoomed into the activity section and got the students to pass the mouse around again answering questions. This was a little harder as they had to figure out how to scoop the fish into the net and then release it – as expected they figured it out before I did.

Check out this video of it in action.

Next plan will be to test it out using the mimio and maybe some drawing programs.