Let’s see…. here is what you want to do…
1)Run PowerPoint presentation on your classroom computer
2)Launch SmartBoard Files
3)Play songs from the iTunes library on your computer
4)Use SmartMusic in your band rehearsal
and so forth but you don’t want to run across the room and be tied to the computer to do those things!
If you really actually want to control your computer with your iPad there are two options. One is to use a VNC type of app and the other option is to use a fancy remote sort of app.
Here is the VNC app that is still on my iPad. I have tried many of them and I feel like Screens from Edovia is the best choice even though it is going to cost you $19.99 to buy the app for the iPad. I have had zero issues getting this thing to connect to my macs at home or at school. At school it seems there are constantly issues with various other apps making connections because of our network/firewalls. Screens for iOS just works. What this app gives you is the ability to see what is on your computer right on your iPad. you then simply tap with one finger for a normal mouse click or you use two for a right click. You can zoom in so it is easier to see what you are tapping on too. There are buttons and a virtual keyboard on your iPad that allow you to type as you would if you were sitting in front of your computer. It really is fully worth the $19.99.
The obvious benefit to this app is that you get to see whatever is on your computer right on your iPad!
The other option is to get Mobile Mouse which is a remote mouse and trackpad app plus a remote for any app you want it to be a remote for! Once you install the $2.99 app on your iPad/iPodTouch/iPhone and the software on your computer (free) you are in business. Launch the app, make the connection and you will see a trackpad on your iPad. Watch your computer and start moving the mouse around, tap/click as expected and away you go. It’s a lot of fun on your iPhone because there is even a mode where you can move the mouse by tilting the iPhone!
Again, there is a virtual keyboard you can pull up as well as having access to any of the f keys and modifier keys. One computer app I constantly use MobileMouse for is Sibelius as my laptop does not have a numeric keypad – I simply use the virtual number pad in Mobile Mouse!
As for the Remote capabilities of Mobile Mouse – There are the obvious ones that are builtin for Safari, iTunes, PowerPoint and many others but I love the fact that I can create a remote for any app I want. I’ve created a remote set to use in SmartMusic for instance…. I set up hotkeys in Mobile Mouse to turn the click on or off, the accompaniment on or off, the cursor on or off and of course I can start and stop the piece from playing as well as enable the assessment (showing red or green notes for right or wrong notes/rhythms). There are 8 items you can setup for yourself as well as being able to assign the keys in the middle of the remote screen to do whatever you want them to.
MobileMouse knows which app I am using on the computer and will automatically bring up the set of media keys for that app.
A huge advantage of MobileMouse over some other other apps is that there are even more capabilities built in that will make this app very handy. At the bottom of the screen for instance I see my dock which allows me to quickly select any app I want to jump to – no having to mouse around and hope I clicked on the correct icon when I am across the room not quite able to see very well. Of course in MobileMouse there is the capability to zoom in and out on your computer screen too! This is very handy when you want to draw your students attention to one specific area on the screen but it is too small to see real well or you just want to make sure they actually are focusing on the correct thing!
It is very easy to use the FileBrowser built in on MobileMouse too. You will see on your iPhone/iPad/iPod a button that jumps you to the file browser mode. Tap that and you will then see whatever hard drives are hooked up to your computer. Start tapping to jump through the folders and find the specific app or document you want to open. It’s almost faster than using a real computer and mouse!