(Before I start raving about this week’s tech-find, I should tell you that I didn’t find it myself. My science teammate showed it to me, she got it from an assistant principal in my building… no idea where the A.P. got it from, but it makes no difference to me — I got this app through what may possibly be one of the best games of “telephone” ever…)

How many times during the day do you have 30 feet between you and your computer? Too many to count?

Let me paint you a little picture. You pass out an assignment, then put up a timer on your computer, which then projects to your whiteboard/screen white wall/wherever. You then head up at your whiteboard, writing instructions about what your kids should do when they’re done with said assignment. On your way around the room, you’re stopped 13 times by 13 kids who all need to (a) get some help, (b) ask “um, Miss, did I do this right?”, (c) ask to use the bathroom/get a drink/go to their locker (d) tell you your hair looked better yesterday, (e) tell you a random story about their baby sister and a rock that she found. Then suddenly, on your way back to your desk to have a math conference with a student, you hear “MISS!!! THE TIMER IS GONE! SOMEONE HIT THE KEYBOARD! HURRY!… Wait, who are all of those people in your pictures?… I like your cat, she’s pretty… Oooh, is that you in your wedding dress? Your hair looks good there, you should wear it like that all the time… Can we see your wedding pictures right now?…” from the 23 kids who are watching the clock — the other 5 are off in la-la-land or are in the bathroom/getting a drink/at their locker or who-knows-what.

A typical class period in my room. 🙂 Funnily enough, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. But I digress.

While all of this chaos learning is swirling around you, it might be nice to know that there is a way to control your computer without having 6 kids try to touch the mouse or space bar on your precious baby (insert shameless MacBook Pro promotion here) and without you barreling through the room to prevent your little guys from touching your precious baby. The app is called “Mobile Mouse” and it’s my new app-boyfriend. I think it’s going to a very long, committed relationship. I’ve used this app to do everything: change the songs on my iTunes (I use the volume to help keep the volume of my kids down, more on this at another time), set my timers from far away, change PowerPoint slides, and even type when necessary.

My latest tech boyfriend. Handsome, no?

I use this app on my MacBook Pro and with an iPhone, but I have friends who use this app on android phones and the software can be used with Windows computers as well. The only other requirement that I’ve seen for using this app aside from a smartphone and a computer is a private Wi-Fi network, as you need to be able to connect your phone and computer to the same network. Once you’ve downloaded the app, download the server to your computer (found here). When you’ve installed the server, open the app, and your computer and phone will automatically try to connect to each other. When they do, you’ll be able to use your smartphone’s screen as the mouse!

Take a look at what you’ll see on your phone:

How I usually keep my mobile mouse. This tends to work best for people who are used to Apple’s mouse.
pc mouse
By clicking the “shuffle” arrows up at the top of the app on your phone, you can change to a Windows-style mouse. This mouse uses a left and right click, as well as a scroll button in the middle.
Turn your phone sideways, and the mouse will rotate. This gives Apple users a left and right click, with a scroll bar on the right side of the screen.
Yes, you can actually type! SO cool!

Totally worth the $2.00 I spent on the app. And the best part? My students are in AWE. No joke. I was told that this is “the most awesomest thing ever.” Give it a try for yourself, and tell me what you think!