Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Posts Tagged ‘tools’

Using timers on the IWB

Posted by rosiemacalpine on March 30, 2009

When I used an IWB in a classroom with young children, an onscreen timer was one of the tools that I used several times a day on the board. I noticed a rapid improvement in their ability to monitor their own work pace and ability to complete tasks within a given time frame. I used the timer for the following tasks:

  • Silent think time about your story before you share your idea with your partner: 30 seconds
  • Finish your writing before recess: 20 minutes
  • Time on a learning station before your group rotates to the next station: 10 minutes
  • Time to read your book silently before you finish your spelling: 5 minutes

In this post, I will showcase some of the timers included in the Promethean software in addition to timers available on the internet (for all IWBs). I have restricted the choice to timers that you can set at the board (no keyboard required – with one exception).

1. Timers in Activstudio V3

Clock/ countdown timer


You can access this timer by adding the clock to your Toolbox, clicking on the icon and choosing countdown. You can choose from several different sounds or even add your own. You can also set actions to occur at the end of the time e.g. turn the page, take a snapshot of the page.


Resource library timers (Flash)

You can find these timers in Shared ACTivities> Gadgets and Widgets> Timers


My favourite is the candle which melts as the time ticks by.


2. Timers in ActivInspire

Clock/ countdown timer

You can access this timer from the Tools menu or by clicking on the hammer and spanner icon on the Toolbox.

I don’t think it’s quite as user friendly as the timer in Activstudio, as you have to open the clock then choose the countdown option. But the other features are the same.


Resource library timers

In addition to the timers in Activstudio (which you still have access to), this timer has also been added to Inspire in Lesson Building Tools> Gadgets


This is a nice simple flash based timer but doesn’t have any sound attached. It is available in a few different colours.


3. Online timers.

There is a huge number of online stopwatches and countdown clocks, but the majority of them require you to use a keyboard to enter the time at the board. You could use the onscreen keyboard, but I prefer to skip this step if I can. Here are three keyboard-less stop clocks (and one notable exception).


This is a full screen stopwatch with large buttons which is easy to set at the board. A timer sounds when the timer is completed.


This stop clock is from the same source as the counter above but uses a nice sand timer as a display rather than numbers.

In addition to an alarm, the full screen picture flashes red when the time has finished, making it suitable for hearing impaired children.


This is a simple javascript timer which is also easy to set on the board.

This is the only timer I used that requires a keyboard to set the time. The great thing about this timer is that you can set the time directly into the web browser. Simply type  and then type a time after the slash – 4 days, or 3 hours, or 20 minutes etc. I mostly use this to monitor my own work. The remaining time is displayed in hours, minutes and seconds.



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Running different activities on your interactive whiteboard and computer

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 2, 2009

Usually, whatever you do on your computer monitor shows on your IWB (and vice-versa). But did you know that you can have different activities showing on each one? This might be useful if:

  • Students are writing independently and referring to words on the IWB while they are doing so. You want to be able to use your computer to finish a worksheet for the next activity.
  • A student doing extension work is reading an article on your desktop computer while other students are completing an activity at the board.
  • An educational assistant is using the class computer to make a resource for the class while your class is answering comprehension questions that are written on the IWB.

You won’t be able to interact with both screens at once, but it’s very handy for when you just need to view information on one screen and work on another.

To do this, you need to make your desktop much wider. It will then display over two screens.


On your desktop computer and IWB your extended desktop will run over the two screens and look like this (note that there are no icons on the IWB, indicating that it is one long desktop rather than two identical screens).


To change your set up to extended monitor, right click any part of your background and choose Properties… from the drop down menu.


Click on the setting tab. Then click on the picture of the computer screen on the right (your IWB screen). Now look at the check boxes at the bottom of the dialogue box.


Click ‘Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor’ to put a tick in this box.  Now your desktop will extend over the two screens.

You will need to make a change in the Activstudio settings to put flipcharts on the page. Go to Studio Settings… and select Multiple Monitors in the left hand menu. Change Showing Other Tools from Specific Monitor to Mouse Monitor.


Now you will be able to show flipcharts on one page and work on the computer simultaneously.



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Using the Camera tool to make a jigsaw puzzle

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 6, 2008

If your IWB software has an image capture tool, then you  can create your own jigsaws out of pictures or text. Simply take shots of small portions of the image to make up your pieces. The Activstudio Camera Tool remembers where you took the last shot and then allows you to move one part of the capture window.

If you don’t have this function, you might want to rule thin lines over the top of your image, to guide you when you capture the image.


There’s a short screencast below showing you how to do this. If you can’t view the video in your RSS feed or email, then click here to visit the blog.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “2008-12-05_1457“, posted with vodpod

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