Part 2…Digital Collaboration Series… TodaysMeet… No Student Log In…Plus 10 Integration Ideas

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.

As you can see, TodaysMeet can be quite useful in the educational setting when used properly . Remember, as with using any Web 2.0 tool with students, one must check their school district’s AUP. In some cases  parental permission may be needed and, in all instances, make sure students are aware of their Digital Citizenship responsibility to themselves… and others. It is suggested that users read both the TodaysMeet Privacy Policy and Terms of Use before using.

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


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4 responses to “Part 2…Digital Collaboration Series… TodaysMeet… No Student Log In…Plus 10 Integration Ideas

  1. Jill Hobson

    I’m happy to see you mention the Terms of Service on a Web 2.0 site because TodaysMeet is one of those that clearly states all users have to be at least 13 years old to use the site. We need more examples of collaborative tools that are appropriate for primary grades students!

  2. Very interesting idea. I wonder how well the backchannel will translate into improved learning. On the face of it, it seems like it would be an invitation to off-task chatting and distraction. I teach elementary school, so of course my audience may not have the necessary maturity level. I would like to hear feedback from teachers who have tried this in various subjects and age groups.
    Thanks for the article, I may try this in a limited setting with a small group or maybe with a professional development environment.

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