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Pros: With the Teacher Tools upgrade, teachers can provide a secure medium for out-of-class discussion, collaboration.
Cons: Students could find character constraints limiting at first (when they use more formal English); there's always a possibility for trolling with chat.
Bottom Line: TodaysMeet is super simple, highly functional, and can be a flipped-classroom stepping stone with the help of careful monitoring.
Initially, use the backchannel for dialoguing class openers; students can use their personal devices or classroom technology. Post discussions on a whiteboard for students to observe. Perhaps also scaffold and personalize learning by responding to or extending responses with further inquiry. Move on to setting up small reading groups or circles that engage in conversation outside of school time. Assigning a larger, time-intensive project or presentation? Let students conduct project meetings through the site.
For housekeeping issues, use the backchannel for a homework helpline in which students respond to each other but the teacher still monitors. Communicate upcoming events and assignments. Engage in small, extracurricular book clubs or media reviews.
You can also use TodaysMeet to backchannel video or film screenings during class time.
TodaysMeet was designed to help teachers generate a secondary online conversation -- or backchannel -- among students about class content or for project collaboration. Educators create a name for their virtual room and provide students with the room's URL. When setting up the room, teachers can also decide when the room will close -- from hours to weeks of creation. Students can engage in conversation guided by the teacher via 140 characters or less posts; students can post as many times as they wish.
With the Teacher Tools upgrade (which teachers get by signing up), teachers can access transcripts for all rooms forever, in addition to pausing rooms. Also, teachers can control which students join the room and mute disruptive students by blocking their posts from class view. Teachers can provide and update prompt and purpose to continually engage or react to formative assessment.
TodaysMeet is a simple site that allows and promotes out-of-classroom conversation, but still requires teacher monitoring and guidance. The site can only be successful for learning if the teacher sets up parameters for digital citizenship and provides engaging content for reaction and collaboration. The site simply serves as a platform for these standards to take place.
Some design polish would be welcome, as TodaysMeet is aging in comparison to the type of social tools students use daily. Students might also benefit from information on how to formulate clear questions and responses and how to participate in discussions. Teachers will most likely need to propel conversations with initial and follow-up questions, but the site can be a simple, effective way to continue conversations started in class and to provide students with reading, writing, self-expression, and communication experience.