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MobileMouse Pro: Use Your SmartPhone to Give a Presentation

I gave a presentation at a recent conference in which I did not use presentation software to advance from one slide to the next but instead demonstrated a few things about setting up and using WordPress for teaching and learning. There was no podium, so I couldn’t just stand in front of my computer and use the keyboard and mouse. Instead, I put my laptop (hooked up to the projector) on a nearby table and used an app on my iPhone to control the computer. After my presentation, a few people came up to me to ask what I was using, and I thought it might be a good idea to share the answer in a ProfHacker post.

The app in question? MobileMouse Pro, available for iOS ($1.99, $2.99 for iPad version) and for Android ($2.99). There’s also a free version (for both iOS and Android) but its features are limited.

Essentially, MobileMouse Pro turns your smartphone into a trackpad and keyboard for your computer — which can be be running Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux — provided that

  • both devices are on the same WiFi network,
  • your computer has the free Mobile Mouse server installed and running, and
  • the WiFi network allows for device-to-device communication.

Its features make it much more versatile than a standard presenter device designed to advance a slide-based presentation. I’ve found it works pretty well for me, though I have to remember not to let my thumb tap the screen when I’m holding the phone at my side while talking. And the lack of tactile feedback on the flat, smooth touchscreen means that I have to look at the device — rather than my audience — when I need to input information; this proves awkward at times but with practice can get smoother. Granted, you can also control the cursor on screen by tilting the phone to take advantage of the built-in accelerometer (but I’ve never been very good at this particular task).

Here’s a 9-minute(!) video overview of the app from the developers:

There are other options out there, of course, for controlling your computer during a presentation. What do you use? Please share in the comments.

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