Advice for adjudicators
Debatekeeper’s great for adjudicators because you don’t have to worry about timekeeping. But just a few words of advice:
1. Tell your debaters what the bell will sound like
When your phone makes a sound, debaters who have never seen the app will assume you just received a text message. The bell sound is quite distinctive (it sounds like a bell), but it can pay to ring the bell before the debate so that they’ll know it is actually the bell. There is a Bell button for this purpose (if you’re not in silent mode). It can also help to check that it’s loud enough for your debaters to hear, which brings me to…
2. Make sure the bell is loud enough
Firstly, make sure your phone is on maximum volume (using the volume rocker). I find that on my Galaxy S II, the bell is loud enough in classrooms, but not in rooms that are any bigger (e.g. lecture theatres).
In situations where your phone speakers won’t cut it, you can use Debatekeeper to remind you to clap. Under Settings, there is a Vibrator option and a Flash screen option. The flash screen option makes Debatekeeper flash the screen white at bell times, which should catch your attention out of the corner of your eye.
I find it most effective to have it not on silent mode, but to turn the volume down so that only I can hear the bell, and then also have the flash screen option on. But you might find some other combination works best.
3. Will it drain my battery?
By default, Debatekeeper keeps your screen on (but dimmed) while it’s running—which will cause your battery to drain faster than usual. It won’t make a huge difference, but at tournaments this can add up. If you find it drains the battery too much, you can let your screen go to sleep by unchecking the Keep screen on option under Settings. (The bells will still ring if not on silent mode and, if you have Flash screen on, the screen will still flash white for bell times.)