Monday, April 1, 2013

"Today's Meet" allows for online discussion (Try it below!)

I have been searching for a web tool that would allow my students and I the ability to discuss and communicate online. The days of calling on one student at a time to share their thoughts and opinions while the rest of the class sits there, happy to not have been called on are becoming less and less. Getting everyone involved in class equals getting everyone involved in learning. We want students "into it" and participating, not sitting back while the others do the participating. With "Today's Meet" everyone is involved. Today's Meet allows you to open a "chat room" for a certain amount of time and and communicate online with your students. It is a free service. Simply go to Today's, name your room, select how long you want the chat room to be open for, and then simply share the link on your website for students to access it. Once the chat room has been created and the students have clicked the link, they simply enter their name to join the room and begin discussing whatever the topic might be. One the right side, they can type (talk) and on the left side, they can read all the dialogue (listen).  
Application for Education: If you are going to use "Today's Meet," I would suggest starting out by taking your class to the computer lab so you can all do it together. This will allow you to show how it works, how to get in the room, and proper etiquette and citizenship. This is a great way to get all your students involved with any discussion. Pose a thought-provoking topic, discuss a current event, discuss a reading passage, answer questions, etc. I have done a variety of things with Today's Meet. I have had "challenges" in which I post a question and the first one to find and share the answer wins. This competition angle makes students more engaged. Now, you don't want to do stuff like that the entire class period, but a couple challenges are good. Today's Meet could also be used as a "homework helper" tool. Create a chat room and have it be available the night before a test or during the week to be available for help. Students think it is really cool that they can get help from their teacher from their house, knowing you are actually in the room too. 

(closes by 11:00 p.m. Tuesday) 

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