I teach a few informal computer courses at my local community college. While I use the projector and “instructor workstation in the classroom, I dislike the isolation that occurs when I am behind the instructor’s desk while the students are out in the classroom at their workstations. I prefer walking around in the classroom, but when I need to demonstrate something, I have to walk back to the instructor desk to work the computer.

The Rii Wireless Keyboard and Mouse is a hand-size wireless device that incorporates a keyboard, touchpad mouse and laser pointer. It uses either a Bluetooth or RF connection, depending on the model. I use the RF connection type, which comes with a wireless USB dongle.

In general, it establishes a connection without requiring a driver download, so there is no need for a lot of prep time before class to set it up. Just plug in the dongle and go. The keyboard uses a cheap-feeling keypad that ‘clicks’ to indicate a keypress, and the touchpad is only about 1.25 inches square. Still, it is quite suitable for me to teach people how to configure a Linux LiveUSB or make models with SketchUp while I am standing next to a student asking a question.

The keyboard has a backlight, so you can read it even in a darkened classroom, and the laser pointer is suitably bright for a classroom setting. The keyboard uses a rechargeable lithium battery, with a mini-USB cable to charge it. The battery can literally last for months between charges. I use this for presentations, class instruction, and to control the computer that I use to stream video to my TV at home. It has been a real workhorse tool for me.

08/17/16-- Daniel Kim