Sometimes those micro-decisions that you make in your class on a daily basis can eat up a lot of your teaching energy without you knowing it. For instance, mundane tasks as selecting a student to answer, a place to go to, or  labels to name a group can exert tremendous decision power and sack your energy. Hence the importance of spinner wheel tools.

Spinner wheel tools or picker wheels are online tools that enable you to generate random output for various types of activities. Instead of labouring over which student name to call, you can simply input students names in the spinner wheel and pick a random name. Spinner wheel tools take charge of making those tiny decisions while you focus on what matters more: quality teaching.

Spinner wheel games

One of the interesting ways to use online custom spinner wheel is to create educational spinner wheel games to integrate in your teaching, regardless of the content area you teach. Spinner wheel games are a great way to engage students and drive their participation. They add a higher dose of interactivity (and fun)  to your lesson and make learning more fun and exciting. 

The suspense as the wheel spins, the exciting music and the confetti that showers the wheel as the random output is selected are all elements that make these tools ideal for game-based learning activities in and out of class. 
There is a plethora of games you can create with spinner wheel tools, some of these as laid out by Lawrence Haywood from AhaSlides include: writing prompts: type in prompts and add them as entries in the wheel and ask students either individually or in teams to spin the wheel. The topic that the wheel lands on is what the student or group write about. 

The same activity can be used in speaking or oral discussions in class. Lawrence calls this speaking activity Don’t Say it and it involves students talking about the randomised keyword the spinner wheel picks without saying the word.

Spinner wheel games can also be used as ice breakers at the beginning of the class. Teachers can type in (fun) questions on the wheel and spin it. This can be used both in remote or in-class settings. Brainstorm dump is another good way to use spinner wheel games in class. You can input different topics into the wheel, spin the wheel and let students come up with ideas (individually or in groups) about the topic.

Minute spin, as Lawrance calls it, is another way to engage students using spinner wheel games. “Fill the wheel with questions. Give each student 1 minute to spin the wheel and answer as many questions as they can.”

Spinner Wheel tools

There is a wide variety of online spinner wheel tools to use with your students in class. Below is a collection of some of my favourite tools:

AhaSlide Spinner Wheels

AhaSlide offers this interesting collection of spinner wheels that you can use to get  random output from sets of options. The way these spinner wheels work is easy: Simply type in your entries and press the play button in the middle of the wheel to start the spin. Besides being able to share your wheel via a URL link, AhaSlides also allows you to invite participants to join your wheel, type in their entries and generate random output. Examples of spinner wheels offered by AhaSlides include: 

1. Name Wheel Spinner
Name Wheel Spinner, also known as name generator enables you to select a random name for any activity you want to do with your participants or students. You simply insert the names of your students and click on the play button to start the spin. You can generate up to 30 randomised names.

2. Yes or No Wheel
Yes or No Wheel is especially ideal to use in those uncertain situations where you are not able to make clear decisions. Simply click on the play button and let the wheel do the decision making part for you. You can add your own entries such as for instance, probably yes, probably no, certain yes..etc. 

3. Alphabet Spinner Wheel
The Alphabet Spinner Wheel is a letter shuffle generator that helps you select a random letter for any type of activity. You can use this tool in various classroom activities such as in vocabulary games (e.g., to generate random letters and ask students to come with words that start with those letters) or in scavenger hunt games (e.g., find something that starts with the generated random letter). Alphabet spinner wheel allows you to randomise up to four words or even the entire alphabets if you want. 

The number wheel generator, as its name indicates, randomly generates numbers for you. Whether you want to choose a winning number for your students in class or spin random numbers for contests or bingo games, this number wheel does a good job. You can add your own numbers and spin the wheel. 

There are various other ways to use number picker wheel with students. For instance, you can use it in number guessing games “You first choose a number generated from the number wheel and the class will have to guess which number it is by asking you five questions. A very strategic but simple game to grab everyone’s attention.”

5. Harry Potter Random Name Generator
Harry Potter Random Name Generator is especially useful in role-playing activities. You can use it to pick random names, select character names, family names, etc. 

6. Prize Wheel Spinner online
The Prize Wheel Spinner does just that, picks random prizes for your participants. You can enter words or numbers (e.g., money) and spin to give rewards. You can use it in classroom activities and in giveaways to provide random rewards to students. 

Random Name and group Pickers

Check out this collection of handy online name pickers and group generators to use with your students in class.  These are free web based tools that enable you to generate random names and groups for whatever activity you want to do with students.  These tools are simple and easy to use. These are ideal for both online and in-person instruction. Here is how they generally work: type in your input (e.g., students names), hit to spin the wheel, get random results.