Welcome to the second in a series of posts that will inform you of some amazing collaboration tools for your 21st century classroom. These tools promise ease of use, no student log in, and limited teacher set up, allowing for just in time use. After a short read of each post, you will have the ability to use one, or all, of these tools in your next lesson or educator meeting. Before introducing this second tool… I want to thank you for continuing to return and for continuing to share this blog with others. If you haven’t subscribed please take a moment to do so. You can be guaranteed future posts by subscribing by either RSS or email. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter at mjgormans. I really do enjoy networking with all of you! Now… about that second collaborative tool. Have a great week!
Have you ever heard talk of something called the “Back Channel”? Imagine you’re teaching a lesson where you can read the mind of every student in the room. You would have the amazing ability to adjust to your students’ needs and emotions. Believe it or not it can be done, and without using a student response system (clickers). That is what a backchannel is all about. It allows students to chat with one another during a presentation, lecture, or the course of a class. Not only that, you, the teacher, have the ability to monitor and even record this conversation between students. Best of all… it’s free, requires no log in, no email, and can be archived. It is like having a Twitter conversation… but in a bit more closed environment because:
- Your audience isn’t on Twitter.
- Your discussion is not a public forum.
- You see only relevent updates.
Introducing… a Web 2.0 site entitled TodaysMeet. TodaysMeet gives you and your students a somewhat isolated room where you can see only what you need to see. Plus, your audience doesn’t need to learn any new tools like hash tags, log ins, nor do they need to create accounts.
It really is quite easy to use. Once you enter the TodaysMeet site… you are asked to submit a room name and the length of time you wish the room to stay active. This can vary between 2 hours and 1 year. It is best to give the room name a code that is not easily remembered. It is quite simple, but you may wish to read these facts from the site. Once the room is open you are given a unique web address which is usually
followed by the room name you submitted. You then give the room name out to individuals (your students) and have them enter the room. Upon entering it will ask for a name. Remember that students should never give their full names or enter any personal or other revealing information in the chat room. This should be part of any proper Digital Citizenship Program as others outside your group could view the website chat room if they guessed or otherwise accessed the submitted address. This is one reason for not naming chat rooms with words that are too common.
As students enter in on the conversation TodaysMeet keeps a display of the name of each individual (remember name rules… possibly use alias names), contribution (remember rules on not using revealing information), and time of text entry. Remember the room will only last for the time you set for the session. In most cases it is best to make the length of time for room use as short as possible. In fact, you may wish to have the room closed by the end of the school day. During the session the chat can be projected to a screen using the “Projector Link” at the bottom of the Chat Window. It can also be saved by clicking on the “Transcript Link” which is also at the bottom of the Chat Window. After clicking the link… just copy and paste into a word processing document.
How can TodaysMeet be used in education?
1. Note taking by multiple students in class.
2. Student feedback during class or lecture.
3. Small group collaboration between students and teachers.
4. Role playing conversation by students of historical figures or characters from a book.
5. Reviews of topics and feedback from leaders representing a group. (Possibly even made into a game)
6. Conversation with an approved expert, author, community member supporting content standards.
7. Projected on screen to inform teacher of “need to know” moments for students or groups of students
8. Discussion by students between classrooms, schools, districts, states, and nations supporting standards.
9. Conversations ,questions, or note taking during a video segment, television program, guest speaker, or lesson.
10. A transcript record for assessment of student collaboration, inquiry, and/or critical thinking.
Well, there you have it… the second in a series dedicated to online digital collaboration tools. Now is the time to engage in some networking! Please continue to join me as I expound on other ways you can promote collaboration and other 21st century skills. But that’s not all… future posts will also contain resources on Digital Curriculum, evaluating web resources, Project Based Learning, STEM, Web 2.0, and so much more on 21st Century Learning. Please take a moment to subscribe by RSS or email! Your subscription means a lot to me and I thank you in advance. You can also give this article a retweet if you scroll to the bottom! It’s a great way to spread the word and I appreciate your support. Remember to follow me on Twitter at mjgormans. Thanks, and until next time… find a way to get your classroom to meet together effectively and safely in digital collaboration efforts. Have a great week! – Mike