App review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019
Time Timer
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Time Timer

Manage and conceptualize time with great visuals, a few bugs

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 3 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
1–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Math, Character & SEL

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Pros: Colorful, easy-to-read interface; customization options; plenty of room for many timers.

Cons: The app is a bit buggy; setup may not be intuitive to some; "awake" mode isn't on by default.

Bottom Line: A decent option for visual timer needs, being sufficiently customizable, but there are still a few bugs and room for improvement.

The most obvious uses for Time Timer in classrooms are for timing standardized and other tests and for helping students judge how much time is left on a task, independent reading period, or break. As the timer counts down and students see the color on the stopwatch-like timer disappearing, they may feel some pressure to complete the task at hand; this may be beneficial for some students' performance and detrimental to others', depending on how they react to being timed. Nevertheless, timed tests and limits are part of life, and Time Timer is a way to introduce students to that fact, but it should be used very sparingly on younger students.

Other uses include creating multiple timers to set throughout the day -- assigning different colors for different subjects -- to help students gauge the passage of time, having students set their own timers to best make use of their work time, or using it during group work when there are several steps to the project and your students need reining in.

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Time Timer is a productivity app that creates colorful visuals for time management. It can help students (or adults) focus on timed tasks, visualize the passage of time, or manage transitions, or help students wait. The customizable timers act as clear, colorful visuals to help students understand concepts of time. Tap the plus sign to create a new timer, and a default stopwatch-style timer appears that goes up to 60 minutes. Swipe around with your finger to set the desired duration. Then you can start the timer. If you save it, you can also name the timer and adjust the color and other settings. Teachers can create timers lasting anywhere from 1 second to 99 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds. Settings include which sound the timer makes when it completes, whether your device will also vibrate, how many times the timer plays, and what color the timer is. Teachers can save a large number of timers to reuse as they need. Timers can run concurrently, and setting different completion sounds can be helpful to distinguish among them. If you want the timer to stay on the screen, be sure to turn on the awake mode. Students can view all the timers in a list, or swipe through when shown full-screen. On each timer screen, there are little buttons that can be changed on the fly for whether the timer makes an audible sound and creates a vibration -- handy for schoolrooms and public spaces.

Though the app looks nice and generally works OK, it includes some confusing functionality and some buggy parts. When users create a new timer, it defaults to a red disc timer with a 60-minute time scale, and sometimes it's impossible to rename the timer without starting it, pausing it, and then editing it. Teachers can switch over to the more customizable one but can't switch back, since that option disappears. The customizable one doesn't include numbers around the outside of the timer, missing out on a great opportunity to link visual time to numbered wedges. Setting more than one repetition of a timer doesn't display the count on the screen (though it looks like it's supposed to), so users will have to count their taps when they set it. Also, deleting a timer when in List mode doesn't appear to delete the timer, but after trying to delete it a second time, then refreshing the list, the app actually deletes the timer and the one below it. This timer is pretty slick in the ways that it works, but there are still several bugs to be worked out. It could also be improved by adding a function to run different timers one after another.

Time concepts can be challenging for many students, especially those with special needs. With Time Timer, younger students can see time as a measurement without the numbers on a traditional clock. Older students can focus on the amount of time left, represented by the amount of color on the timer or the countdown at the bottom. The app turns time into a visual reference, helping students break large tasks into smaller ones, or reminding them to take a break from their task regularly. It can help create routines, teaching them to work more independently. But the lack of numbers around the custom timer discs seems like a missed opportunity to aid in time visualization.

Although Time Timer was created as a productivity tool, students can learn time management, work efficiently, and even perhaps gain in-the-moment motivation by using this app. Throughout education and life, students and adults are expected to perform under time pressure on tests and other tasks. For some students, time pressure may help boost productivity and creativity, though it may hinder or paralyze other students. In those cases, this app may help them learn to manage time-related stress and practice focusing to stay on task, once they learn their way around the interface. Time Timer can help students appreciate the value of time and how to use it well.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Timing may engage some students more deeply in tasks, while it may be distracting and stressful to others. The interface is tidy and colorful, but a bit nonintuitive and buggy.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

While students time each other or experiment with timed tasks, they'll be gaining a deeper understanding of the passage of time in a visual way. Being able to customize timers empowers students to take charge of their schedule.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

The website includes a short FAQ section and a support email address, but users are mostly on their own. The app's slightly odd functionality means there's a slight learning curve, too.


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Featured review by
Jenny K. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Kathryn Hughes Elementary School
Santa Clara, United States
Great way for kids to visualize and manage time!
This app helps kids learn to manage their time by offering a visual of time remaining. My students have gotten a lot better at time management through use of this app and others like it.
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