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Software-based Control Systems for the Classroom

Feb 4, 2009 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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Photo courtesy of 1UControl

Photo courtesy of 1UControl

For classrooms that are adding new equipment, 1UControl has a built-in IR learner. "We designed it so that a user can program a new button. If it's a new VCR, for example, you can take the remote for the device, point it at the plug-in learning unit, and the system learns the IR code," Cleary says. "It really is easy for a teacher to program their own buttons."

For district-wide equipment installations, the software's IR control database also simplifies the process. The code is added at the administrator level and is pushed out to every classroom, eliminating the need for individual programming at the classroom level. The administrator can also set the design and function of the new device's controls.

1UControl's newest feature set is what Cleary calls the Whiteboard Feature, which is available in software versions 2.0.7 and above. This new feature allows the teacher to display a control interface on a whiteboard or tablet PC. The buttons displayed on the whiteboard can be programmed similar to the desktop control pad, or they can include macros that support common actions such as switching from one device to another.

Another unique feature is Minimal Mode. "You can shrink the remote down to the size of a calculator, but it is always available on your desktop," Cleary says. The Virtual Remote Control Center is sizeable in minimal mode, and the preferences can be set so that the PC starts up in minimal mode.

Users can also create a profile for individual rooms that contains preferences for the equipment in that room. This feature, best suited for traveling teachers, makes it easy to work in various classrooms throughout the day without the need to reprogram control buttons.

Cleary says that the strategy for product features and pricing is giving anyone control. "Schools can purchase it at an affordable price point," he says.

Users who are interested in trying 1UControls's Virtual Remote Control Center can download a 10-day trial from the company's website.

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