Have you ever been to software training or participated in a virtual webinar where you can’t see the screen very well? Or, you can’t see the facilitator’s mouse when they ask you to “click here”?
We’ve probably ALL been there! So frustrating, right?! Well, this question gets asked in EVERY SINGLE CLASS I facilitate…every single one. And it’s not even an Articulate question…it’s a facilitator question: “What software do you use to do that thing with your mouse and zoom your screen?”
Well, the answer is simple and, best of all, it’s free!
There are two tricks that I do with my mouse to make it easier for students in class to see…let’s take a look:
Mouse Trick #1
Change your mouse pointer to black extra-large. Keep in mind that your mouse visibility may depend on the software that you’re teaching. The Articulate software we train has a white/light background; therefore, having a dark mouse makes it that much easier for students to see.
Mouse Trick #2
Show the location of your mouse pointer when you are trying to show students what you’re referencing, pointing at, about to click on, etc. Here’s how it looks to the class:
Both of these options are simple Mouse Properties built into your Windows Control Panel settings. Windows Control Panels are a little different depending on your version of Windows, but you’re looking for the Mouse properties option. Here’s what it looks like on my Windows 7 Control Panel window:
For Trick #1, I use the following Pointers options:
For Trick #2, I use the following Pointer Options:
So now, all I have to do is press and release the CTRL key to show my students exactly where my mouse is and where I want them to focus and/or click! Pretty cool, huh?
Tip: When you’re using Articulate Storyline to record your software for the View, Try, or Test modes, be aware that pressing the CTRL key will add those steps to the process. You could end up with a ton more steps than you need! In this case, I simply disable the Pointer Option before screen recording…then enable it again before my next class.
Hard to see the screen? Small commands in the software?
Large room, small room, or webinar, sometimes the screen is simply tough for the students to see. Some commands are just small, some are detailed, or maybe you need them to type a sentence into a box and you don’t want them to have to squint to read it.
This final tip involves a software download, so you may need permission from your IT department first. It’s a must for me and has been for the last 10 years! It’s called ZoomIt, and it’s a free Microsoft download which can be found HERE.
After installation, this software runs in my System Tray, and I can activate it at any time using a hotkey combination. I have changed my default hotkey because I could never remember the default one for some reason. Here’s how it works:
It allows you to zoom over the area where your mouse sits, and even click and draw on the screen (in case you need to circle the command that you want them to pay attention to, highlight an area, etc.).
“The secret in education lies in respecting the student.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Respect your students by letting them actually see what you’re teaching! Good luck in your training classes, and let me know if you have any questions!