Noise, Names, and Groups

You can play the role of judge and jury when it comes to classroom noise or you can get some help in the form of a simple noise meter that you display on a screen in your room. Here are three simple noise meters that you can use on your laptop and display on a screen in your classroom.

Bouncy Balls is a free online noise meter that I have been using for a couple of years. It shows the volume of the noise in a room by displaying a set of colorful bouncing balls on your screen. The louder your students are, the higher and more frequently the balls on the screen bounce. To use Bouncy Balls simply go to the website, click “begin bouncing,” and then click the microphone icon to allow the site to access your computer’s microphone.

Classroomscreen is a service that lets you create a homescreen on which you can place reusable countdown timers, stopwatches, noise meters, random name selectors, and more helpful classroom management tools. The noise meter lets you set a sensitivity level and have an alarm sound when the room gets too noisy.

Sound Meter is a Chrome extension that is exactly what its name states. It measures the sound that is picked up by the microphone connected to your computer. The sound is measured and displayed in a graph of decibels.

All three of these noise meters are demonstrated in this short video.

Random Name and Group Pickers

From creating groups to choosing a line leader to establishing the order of presenters there are plenty of times that a random name picker or random group picker can be helpful in your classroom. I’ve tried dozens of them over the years. There are a few that I keep coming back to.

Wheel of Names is a free random name picker website that not only lets you enter names, it lets you upload images to be chosen at random. Wheel of Names also lets you create a free account that you can use to save a series of wheels. That option could be helpful if you have multiple classes and don’t want to enter names whenever you need to pick a name at random.

SpinnerWheel lets you place multiple spinners on the same screen and spin them at the same time. By doing that you can create a random group picker, generate randomized writing prompts, randomly generate math problems, and even create random quiz game questions. You can use SpinnerWheel without creating an account on the site. However, if you do create a free account on SpinnerWheel you will be able to save your spinners to use whenever you like and as often as you like. offers a random name picker that can be used to select one student’s name at random. It can also be used to randomly create small groups of students. You can even use it to create a randomized seating chart!

In this short video I demonstrate all of the above name pickers and a couple of others that are worth trying.

Workshops and Webinars!

I’m going back on the road this summer to host professional development workshops in-person! If you’d like me to come to your school or conference, please get in touch soon. If a webinar is more your speed, I offer provide free custom webinars for any school or group that purchases ten or more copies of my eBook, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips.

Ask Me or Rushton Anything!

This week Rushton Hurley and I will resume our Two EdTech Guys Take Questions seriesregister here to join us for this free event.