In the training I attended yesterday the presenter used some pretty slick digital tools to time activities and choose people to call on. Although that software was for sale, I also know there are some free alternatives that will do some of the same things. Here are a few to explore before spending your money:
Triptico: This is an installation, but once installed you have access to classroom timers, random number/name pickers and spinners. All of these tools can be created ahead of time and saved on your computer for access use later on. Files can also be shared, so if teacher A creates a great spinner, then that file can be shared to Teacher B, C, D, etc without a problem. This program also has several other templates including quizzes, scoring, and games.
ClassTools.net – offers free tools that do not require a download. It has a classroom timer complete with your choice of soundtrack to run during the countdown. It also has a random name/number picker for using to pick what student in each group you would like to call on. These would have to be created as you need them and cannot be saved for future use. You may want to save any lists you create in a word doc to be able to copy and paste over for quick access.
Online_Stopwatch: Is also a free online tool that does not require a download. This timer will count up or down and will go full screen to gain attention of the students. This is one of my favorites to use!
Smart Notebook: If you already have a smart slate or smart board in your room, check out the Notebook Gallery section and do a search for a spinner. The default is for 4 sections, but that can be changed as can the labels and colors. They also have a random number generator that can be used to randomly pick numbers in the number range that you set. These can also be shared amongst the other smart slate users on a campus.
I also know several of my staff has iPads or other devices they bring to campus on a regular basis. Check out the app store to find free apps for timers to use.
If you know of any other good tools to share (or apps), please leave them in the comments below.