Lecturers are educational performances. A well-designed lecture uses every piece of the presentation medium to maximize educational value. The timing and delivery of your slides is one of the aspects of a lecture that all of us need to control. A well-timed slide can make students laugh, be so poignant that it sucks the oxygen out of the room, or be the exclamation point that ends seals the argument your trying to make.

So why are so many of us blowing these opportunities by forwarding lecture slides with a mouse or keyboard?

Using a keyboard to progress your slides:

  1. Means you have to walk over to the computer or worse stand next to it for the entire lecture.
  2. Forces you to always be anticipating when you want to progress the slide so you can mozy on over…
  3. Makes you look like a moth near a light bulb. Flying to and away from the computer ad nauseam.[1]

Friends, I’ve found a better way to deliver your presentations and it’s called the Targus Presentation Remote AMP09US. For $40.99 you get a whole mess of awesome features including all of the basics (clicker functionality, laser pointer, etc.). But what sets this little fella apart from the rest are two key features.

First, the remote has an internal switch that auto-magically adjusts the remote to presenters using a PC, a Mac using Keynote, or a Mac using PowerPoint. If you are a Keynote user then you know how rare it is for a clicker to interact properly with the Mac only presentation software. The Targus is specifically a must for you Ms./Mr. Fancy Pants Keynote User.

The second awesome feature may not overwhelm you until you use it yourself. One of the buttons at the top of the remote makes the screen go black. This is great if your students are furiously writing down what you have on the screen and you want them to stop and listen to what you’re saying. I rarely use text, so when I do my students think they must represent pearls of wisdom (a.k.a. what’s on the test) and many of them immediately stop listening.

Beyond it’s functionality, the Targus is a very well designed piece of technology. The USB dongle that receives the remote’s commands from up to 50 feet away is cleverly tucked in battery case so that you can not lose it when in transit. The remote also only uses a single AAA battery, but has a space for a second backup battery so that you will never be caught with out juice for your clicker. There is also a key-lock button that will keep you from doing anything wonky while the remote is in your hand.

Department chairs and college administrators listen up. You should buy one of these devices for all of your faculty because it will improve their teaching effectiveness.

Faculty, lecturers, and presenters of all stripes, you should buy one of these if you cannot get your employers to do so. Having clickers is a must for anyone using presentation software like PowerPoint or Keynote.

  1. I’m totally empathetic to teachers who have to or choose to live without clickers. I only bought my Targus clicker a month ago, but it’s made a world of difference for me and I know it would for you too.  ↩