I was presenting at ISTE this past summer and observed a presentation by the amazing chefs from The Joy of Professional Learning – Cheryl Davis, Katie Morrow and Kurt Klynen. Their creative Keynote slides from their session entitled, “Supporting Innovative Learning with Your Faculty” contained embedded timers to facilitate each segment of their workshop with participants. The time management trick of using timers during a class or workshop is not new, but adding the timer to a slide adds another element allowing content or directions to be displayed alongside a countdown. Using a timer is highly effective because it visually encourages participants to stay on task while using time wisely, ensuring that no time is wasted. There is something about a ticking countdown that makes adults and kids alike strive to make the best use of that time to complete their task.
I often use Siri Assistant to set a timer when I randomly need to manage my time. I’ll say, “Hey, Siri. Set the timer for 15 minutes.” I’ll often do this when I’m baking or monitoring my children’s reading time. However, my children are now setting their own timers for this as I have modeled this behavior for so many years. Timers can be used for transitions throughout the school day and so much more.
You can also go right to a Google Chrome omnibox and type timer ‘interval of time’ + enter and a timer automatically begins. If you have your sound turned on, the browser will beep when time has run out.
For a more organized and precise implementation of timed tasks, I recommend adding a timer to a slideshow alongside a task or important bit of information. Here are a few simple steps to embed a timer into a slide:
1. Go to YouTube.com and type ‘time interval’ countdown. For example: 5 minute countdown or 5 minute timer
2. Copy the link to the video
3. Go to KeepVid.com (The site is ad-supported, but I find that it is the least obtrusive). Download the video (free option up to Max 720p)
4. From finder, drag and drop the video into your Keynote slide.
5. Click on the video and then Inspector – Format – Movie
6. Scrub through the video to select a poster frame for a timer preview
7. For the purposes of my lesson, I copied my video to display three separate 5-minute timers. Five minutes for thinking, two minutes to find a partner and 5 minutes of sharing.
8. I edited the second video to start at two minutes. To do this, click on that separate video and then click on Inspector – Format – Movie. Under Edit Movie, scrub through the Trim feature so that this video begins at the two minute mark.
Click on the video tutorial to view the above steps. How might you use this trick in your own classroom?