Thursday, August 30, 2012

Phone Calls, Sound Problems, and Chimes

Greetings fellow teachers.  I have been looking for a conduit to pass along technology thoughts that could potentially revolutionize your teaching.  After much thought and deliberation, I am deciding to head into the world of blogging.  Although I have blogged before, I have never professionally found a need for it.  Then, I was imagining a way that I could pass along information, good or bad, about the integration of technology in the classroom.  So, that is what brings me here.  So, here goes...

In the life of a tech guy, people often times have you on their speed dial.  After fielding a call from my good friend Brian about some tech issues he was having, I thought I was scott-free for the rest of the evening.  My wife quickly changed that.  As she frantically walked into the door  at home, she describe the mass chaos that had occurred as she was leaving school.  Well, to her it was mass chaos.  She had unplugged something from her computer and, as she stated, the computer errored and said that the sound card was broken. She felt that it was a necessity for the next day that she could hear stuff on her computer.  So, off I went to fix her computer, 30 miles away in Columbus.  I did have a meeting up in Columbus at Zion Lutheran Church, so this act of heroism would be nothing but a slight detour after the meeting.

To make a long story short, I valiantly slayed the beast inside of her computer.  OK, actually, I reset her computer and everything worked properly.  I am still not sure what error she was excitedly describing on the screen, but I thoroughly tested everything and it functioned properly.  While I was testing her sound card, I stumbled upon a program that she was using to keep herself on time in her classroom.  I thought that this program would have completely changed the way that I taught in my grade school teaching years.  The program is called Time Chimes and made by NCH Software.  This simple program allows you to schedule bells to sound throughout the day.  For all the times that I struggled during my grade school teaching years to stay on time, this would have been a lifesaver.  You can set multiple times that the bell will sound throughout the day and change the tone on the bell.  It is a simple, yet effective program for a school that cannot afford a bell system that costs thousands of dollars.

The program is listed on the website for a single-user price of $29.99.  The website offers a free download, but doesn't tell you how long you have the free version for.  I searched and searched and did not see any information on this.  I am currently running this version to test it out, so I will let you know when the free time runs out.  Even so, for $30, this could be an awesome addition for a classroom that has limited resources and a simple teacher computer with speakers.

I am sure that there are a number of programs very similar to this.  I am also sure that there are iPad apps that perform roughly the same task.  I feel that this program is simple and effective.  There is no gigantic learning curve to it.

I just got another speed dial phone call in this midst of this blog.  So, it's off to save the world.  God's continued blessings on your classroom and church ministries.

Ted