Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 14:26 UK

Using Bluetooth

A man wearing a Bluetooth headset
Hands-free headsets are among the devices which use Bluetooth
Students at several schools taking part in BBC News School Report are using Bluetooth to help them gather the news. Here is a guide to the technology.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a system which lets devices communicate by radio. When a Bluetooth device detects another in its local area, they can share data without needing cables.

Where can I find it?

Bluetooth is used in all kinds of devices including mobile phones, hands-free kits, printers, keyboards and computer mice.

The cable-free controls in some new games consoles also use Bluetooth to connect to the main unit.

It is commonly used to send pictures, business cards, videos and sound files from mobile phones to other phones and computers.

Why is it called Bluetooth?
There was a 10th Century Danish Viking King called King Blatland (or Bluetooth in English)
He united the fighting tribes of Denmark and Norway
It is said that Bluetooth unites different types of devices in the same way
How close to the devices have to be to each other?

It varies. Some smaller devices, such as mobile phones, can only detect other Bluetooth-enabled devices within a few square metres. Other devices can scan for items up to 100 metres away.

How to I get it to work on my phone?

To send or receive files using Bluetooth on your phone, you must make sure your Bluetooth function is turned on and that other devices can see it.

On most handsets, you turn Bluetooth on and off in the connections or settings area of your phone's menu system. For full instructions on how to do this check your phone's manual or manufacturer's website.

A Bluetooth menu on a phone
You can use Bluetooth to send pictures between mobile phones
To send a file, tell your phone to find the device you want to send to. This means searching for the name of a particular mobile phone or computer, for example

Sometimes people give their phone a personalised name and sometimes it will just be the model name of the phone.

To pair one Bluetooth device to another, a pass code has to be exchanged between the two devices.

When you first connect, one machine will ask you to enter a pass code - any four digit number will do. The same number must then be entered on the other device.

The data can then be transferred between the two devices and saved on the receiving device.

GUIDANCE ON USING MOBILE PHONES TO GATHER NEWS

At BBC News School Report, some teachers are choosing to work with students to gather news material using their mobile phones.

Pupils at two schools, in Nottingham and London, were excited about using gadgets with which they were already familiar.

Below is a rough outline of what is required to incorporate mobile newsgathering into a school-based activity.

SAFETY

When taking photos, filming or recording audio it is important students do not endanger themselves or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Students should plan how to use their phones safely, in the same way they would if they were using a video camera.

RECORDING MATERIAL

You will need mobile phones which can record pictures, video and sound and have Bluetooth connections.

These handsets need to have sufficient free memory to be able to record the required material - and they need to be fully charged too as this all saps battery life!

CONNECTION TO THE COMPUTER

You need to use Bluetooth to extract the clips and pictures from the phones.

You can either use computers which have Bluetooth already installed or you can attach and install software from a Bluetooth dongle.

Mobile phone camera
Students need to be familiar with editing software before News Day

To get the clips from the handsets you can pair all the handsets individually with the Bluetooth device on the computer.

Downloading the clips can be quite time consuming. We recommend that a teacher does this with the students present to explain where the clips are on their phone.

To make this process easier, pupils should rename their clips with their own name, before they send them - enabling the teacher to identify which clips belong to which students.

During a News Day at Greenwood Dale School in Nottingham, students labelled their phones with a sticker, explaining where to find the clips.

Teachers downloaded them during the lunch period, so that students were ready to edit them when they returned to the ICT suite at the beginning of the afternoon.

Another method, which has proved time-saving in the past, is for the pupils to send all their clips to one central handset with a large memory. This is then paired to the computer and the clips removed from it.



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