Thursday, October 9, 2014

Classroom Timer - Quick and Easy

There are a myriad of reasons why a teacher needs a timer in the classroom.  There are so many timers - apps, websites, phones, iPad, etc.  Sometimes it takes me longer to get the timer set up than the time I want to set the timer for.  I have a very quick and easy to access timer to share with you today.  This timer lives within your Chrome browser.  (Yes, this is just one more reason to use Google Chrome as your web browser.)

Here is a picture of what this timer looks like - and it takes just a few short keystrokes to get it up and running right inside a tab in your browser.  I love the simplicity.

Great, right?!  To get this timer, complete the following steps.

1.  Right click in your Omnibox, or what you might think of as your address bar and choose "Edit Search Engines".

2.  A Search engine settings page will open for you.  At the bottom of the "Default search engines" section, you should see an "Add" button on the right.

3.  Click add and fill in the fields like you see in the picture below: 

You can copy the text for the third box from here if you choose:

The first box is just telling you what the utility is.  The second box is your keyword.  You can set it to anything you want, but it needs to be something you will remember and also something you won't typically type in followed by a space.  This is what you will type into the Chrome browser whenever you want to use your timer.  I chose ti for my keyword, but you can choose whatever you'd like.  The shorter the better.  The third box needs to be entered exactly to match what I have there.

4.  Once you have entered the correct text into the three fields, click the "Save" button.  You will now see your timer show up in the "Other search engines" list.  You might see some other things that have been automatically added into the list and that is ok.  You can close the settings tab now and test out your timer.

Simply type ti (or whatever you chose as your keyword) into the Omnibox, or address bar, of your Chrome browser and then hit the space bar or the tab button.  You will see a little box appear in your Omnibox that says "Search timer".

Now, type in the amount of time you want to have the timer set for and then hit enter.  You can type 2 min, 1 hour, 30 sec, etc.  If you don't specify the units (min, hour, sec) then it will automatically do seconds.  You can also type in a mixed amount of time like 3 min 30 sec and it will do that as well.

Another cool thing about this timer, besides the ease of use, is that it shows the time counting down at the top of the tab in your browser.  This way, you can be working on another website in another tab, and still see how much time is left on your timer.

A feature I think is really neat is that this timer only goes off once and then stops.  That way, if I'm roaming around the classroom helping students, I don't have to run to my desk to turn off the timer.  Perfection!

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