Sunday, March 6, 2016

3 Cool Countdown Timers for your Classroom

Countdown timers can be a useful tool in the classroom for many reasons:

  • As a teacher you may give your students a specified amount of time to brainstorm, discuss a topic, work on a project, complete a sample problem, or such.
  • Or your students may be performing an experiment and collecting data for a class activity where time is a constraint.
  • Or students who need some additional structure or motivation to complete their work could set time goals to work, and then reward themselves with a break or fun activity afterwards.

Whatever the reason, there are many available tools to use as countdown timers. Below we are going to take a look at three great examples that are free, work well in a classroom, and use Google tools in one way or another.

See below for a short video demonstrating the tools, and read the rest of the blog post for additional details and links.

Tutorial Video (9 minutes)

Countdown Timers

Google Search

One of the simplest timers to use requires nothing to be installed. All you have to do is use Google Search. From the Google search box, or the omnibox at the top of your Chrome web browser, you can simply type in the search term “timer” and you will get a live, interactive countdown timer.

To use the timer you can:

  • Click on the timer to set the hours, minutes, and seconds to count down to.
  • Click on the sound icon to toggle the alarm sound on and off.
  • Click on the fullscreen icon to switch to full screen mode.
  • Click the Start button to begin the countdown.
  • Click the Reset button to start over.

If you want you can also type the countdown duration in the original search to set the timer and have it start immediately. For example you could type the following in the search box:

  • timer for 30 seconds
  • 1 minute timer
  • 10 second countdown

Timer Chrome Web App

Another countdown tool is the “Timer” Chrome Web App. There are a lot of timer, alarm clock, and stopwatch apps and extensions in the Chrome Web Store, but Timer is one of my favorites for its ease of use and features.

You can install the Timer web app from the Chrome Web Store here: Chrome Web Store link

Here’s how to use the Timer web app:

  • When you launch the Timer web app, you will get a new web page where you can choose between a Countdown, Alarm Clock, or Stopwatch
  • Click on the timer in the Countdown section and enter the hours, minutes, and seconds you wish to count down to.
  • If you want, hover above the gear icon to reveal additional settings.
  • One of those settings allows you to enter a link to the YouTube video you want to play when the countdown reaches zero. By default a video of a chiming antique alarm clock will play.
  • Click the Start Countdown button.

One of the best features of this countdown app is that the live timer also displays in the tab at the top of your browser window. That means you can switch over to other web pages to do your work, type a document, conduct research, or such, and all the time you will be able to see the timer counting down. This is a great option for using a timer when students also need to be working online.

Countdown Timer for Chromecast

The final countdown timer to look at is one that works specifically with Chromecast. If you are not familiar with it, a Chromecast is a small device you can plug into your television, monitor, or projector (anything with an HDMI video jack) and then wirelessly stream content from your phone, tablet, laptop, or other device. In addition to streaming what is on your device, Chromecasts also support many apps for content (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube), games, and other apps.

Countdown Timer for Chromecast is an Android app that lets you set and display a large, attractive countdown timer on your TV, monitor, or through your classroom projector.

If you have a Chromecast and an Android device, you can install the app from the Google Play Store here: Google Play Store link

To use Countdown Timer for Chromecast:

  • Launch the app on your Android device.
  • Click the Chromecast icon on the top to connect to your Chromecast device.
  • Type in a description for what you are counting down to.
  • Set the hours, minutes, and seconds to count down to.
  • Choose the color theme you want for the display (I think the blue theme looks best).
  • Click Start.


Certainly there are many other great tools to use as countdown timers in school. Use the comments section below to share your favorite countdown tool, and also how you use that tool with your students.

Post by Eric Curts. Connect with Eric on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. I love the Google Search timer. I use it for classes when I'm trying to move through labs very quickly, and the processes have to be timed. I also like it for team meetings that have an agenda. I will also admit to using it when I'm working on school work, and I'm trying to focus for 20 minutes, or remember my laundry is going :)

  2. I use an online-stopwatch which has got different settings to use in classroom. Extremely easy to use. Made a favourite of it and use it every lesson.