Sunday, April 19, 2015

Just One Useful Thing: A few Single Purpose Websites

Sometimes all you need is a quick, useful tool to do some small task. No frills. No extras. Chrome extensions do this quite well, as do smartphone apps.  Single serve (or single purpose) websites are also useful for this, though most are a bit of a novelty.  These are websites with just one page that do one simple thing. A lot of them are silly or weird, but there are some really useful ones out there too. Below are a few that teachers might find helpful. They have all been around for a while, but hopefully, the sites will be new to you.

Password Bird
Generate a strong password that you can remember by providing information that you are likely to remember. Both you and your students probably sign up for a ton of free websites, so this site might help you make sure you passwords are more secure.

Online Stopwatch
This stopwatch would be useful to project on the screen in your classroom if you are having students do short sessions of individual or group work. There are several variations on the standard clock interface at the bottom of the screen. My favorite is the bomb countdown. It always creates a sense of urgency while they work.

Let Me Google That for You
I believe the original idea for this site was to stem the tide of requests for help from technology challenged friends and relatives who constantly ask for your help since you are the techie one of the two of you. Enter a search and the program generates a link for your to share. Just e-mail or post the link for someone for them to see how to do a proper Google search. In the classroom, it might be helpful for demonstrating for students how to construct a skilled web search for the topic you are studying.

Is It Down for Everyone or Just Me?
Okay,class is about to start. You bring up the website you want to use for this lesson. It appears to be down. Type in the web address onto this page and click on the just me link. The site will tell if you the site is down at the source (technical problem on the site's end of things) or just for you (some technical problem with your computer or Internet service). If the site is down for everyone, then you are out of luck. Time to go to plan B. If it is just you, take that Snickers bar out of your desk and bribe your local IT staff or tech savvy student to try to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Who is the Cutest?
So this one is not terribly useful unless you are having a low self-esteem day. Need a quick ego boost? Click on this site and find out who is currently the cutest. Hint: It is meant to make you feel better.