It used to be so simple back in the “olden days of overhead projectors,”before the advent of PowerPoint. There was a wonderful TeachTimer that could count up or down that you lay on the projector so that a digital clock was projected onto the screen. It was a perfect way to count down break times or in-class activities so that the participants could pace themselves. The TeachTimer is still available, but mine now sits idly on a shelf.
When I started using PowerPoint, I had trouble finding any countdown timer that was comparable. There seemed to be a few options for PCs. But I use a Mac, so it took a while until I discovered the two options I now use.
With great thanks to Duane Wilmot, who first told me about time keeping freeware, I finally discovered the Apimac Timer: a complete and professional stopwatch, alarm clock, countdown and clock utility for Mac OS X available at http://www.apimac.com/timer/index.php. Even a person who is technologically-impaired such as I am can move easily between PowerPoint and the Apimac Timer. What I like about it is that it is so flexible. I can use it to count down the time for an activity. It also works beautifully during breaks to count down the time while I play whatever break time music I want on my iPod.
For those of you on PCs, just Google a freeware countdown timer and I know you’ll find all kinds of free options!
My second find is a fun animated countdown timer called Break Time Boogie that I purchased from The Trainer’s Warehouse. “Get students back from break–on time–without nagging! This playful countdown timer uses light-hearted animations, set to a contagious boogie beat, to help students know how much time is left for phone calls, Blackberries, and pit stops. With each passing minute, the screen fills up with more and more lively animations. Just project it onto your computer screen and choose your own countdown time (5, 10, or 15 minutes). They’ll boogie on back with a smile.”It works with both PC and Mac. Right now, it lists at $9.95 at http://www.trainerswarehouse.com/prodinfo.asp?number=SOBG! What a steal!
If you have other countdown timers to suggest, please be my guest!!