30 January 2014 ~ 21 Comments

20 useful ways to use TodaysMeet in schools

20 useful ways to use TodaysMeet in schools

TodaysMeet is an easy-to-use, versatile digital tool. It can enhance discussions, provide a place for ideas and more.

TodaysMeet is so simple yet so versatile that it has become one of my go-to digital tools.

It’s designed as a backchannel — the conversation behind what’s going on. TodaysMeet creates personal chat room that you can set up and invite people to. They can quickly and easily write comments or questions for anyone in the chat room to see.

TodaysMeet is literally the easiest website to use I’ve ever come across. To create a room, just go to TodaysMeet.com, give your room a name (let’s say we named it “DitchThatTextbook” … no spaces, periods or certain other characters). Decide when it closes (i.e. how long you want it to exist). Then click “Create your room.”

That’s it. Your TodaysMeet room is created.

You can immediately share the URL to the room (in our DitchThatTextbook example, the room we would create is TodaysMeet.com/DitchThatTextbook) and start the conversation. Just join the room, type your name and you’re ready to post a message in the room.

Each message has a 140-character limit, so be concise. (Or just type multiple messages.)

I already use TodaysMeet in a number of ways in my classroom and can see so many other possibilities. Here are some of them:

1. Have a conversation. Students can talk about anything in a TodaysMeet room, and often you’ll draw out the shyest, quietest students — the ones who would never raise their hand in class discussion.

2. Share links. Post the URL for a website you want everyone to visit. Links you post are clickable in TodaysMeet.

3. Ask questions. During a lecture, presentation or movie, if students are unclear about something, they can ask questions and get answers without interrupting.

4. Give examples. Looking for students to show how something relates to their life? Or how they would apply a new concept? Participation is immediate and much faster than raising hands to answer.

5. Take a poll. Ask for a vote among a couple choices and the results will be visually obvious in a matter of seconds.

6. Check for understanding. Ask a comprehension question and have students type the answer WITHOUT clicking “Say” (the button you use to submit your answer to the room). Then, if they all click “Say” on the count of three, you’ll see who understands and who doesn’t.

7. Gather feedback. Did your presentation make sense? Do students like changes to the school? What is really working in class? What would they like to see more of?

8. Gather anonymous feedback. If you want participants to be REALLY honest, ask them not to type their names (maybe just a letter or character, or the same thing for everyone) when they answer.

9. Create “rotating stories.” Create a TodaysMeet room with a story starter. Have each student add a new sentence to the story. (Or, have every student create a TodaysMeet room and start their own story … then have each student visit every other student’s room to add a sentence.) See where the story goes.

10. Discuss an event. The State of the Union speech. A movie relevant to class. A presentation in the auditorium. Host a behind-the-scenes quiet discussion.

11. Hold online office hours. Tell students you’ll be available at a TodaysMeet room at a certain time to answer questions.

12. Crowdsource details. When my Spanish classes and I make up stories in Spanish, I like to ask them for details to add — a character’s name, where the character goes, what a character does next. I can get suggestions from everyone in about 15 seconds (or less!).

13. Connect with other classrooms. Extend a discussion beyond the four walls of your classroom. Invite a class from down the hall, in another city, in a different country.

14. Connect with experts. Find an expert in the subject your class is discussing and see if he/she will engage with your students in a TodaysMeet room. You can have a guest speaker without the hassle of travel.

15. Host a contest. The first person who correctly posts in the TodaysMeet room wins!

16. Teach brevity. Students can easily get too verbose and use unnecessary words. Expressing thoughts in 140 characters is an exercise in simplicity.

17. Practice digital citizenship. TodaysMeet rooms are online spaces for discussion much like many social media sites. They are a safe place to post and then talk about the do’s and don’ts about engaging online.

18. Facilitate group projects. Students can post links to useful articles, relevant information and ideas they want to include in a group TodaysMeet room.

19. Create a club/team communications site. Post meeting cancellations and changes. Connect with parents. Save yourself tons of phone calls or text messages if everyone checks the group TodaysMeet site.

20. Have asynchronous staff/committee meetings. Host a discussion where participants can discuss when it’s convenient for them. Let everyone pop in to a TodaysMeet room throughout the day (or week) and wrap up the meeting at a predetermined time.

Which of these ideas sounds the most useful? What other ideas would you add to the list? Share them in a comment below!

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21 Responses to “20 useful ways to use TodaysMeet in schools”

  1. Betsy Wyatt 31 January 2014 at 6:09 pm Permalink

    How about starting a today’s meet for flipping a lesson? Use it for easy access to open discussion prior to getting back to class.

    • Matt Miller 31 January 2014 at 7:43 pm Permalink

      Absolutely, Betsy! Head off some questions before kids get back to class!

  2. Keith Schoch 1 February 2014 at 10:31 am Permalink

    I know this site and find it awesome as well; thanks for the terrific list, though, of ways to easily incorporate it!

  3. Nikki 27 February 2014 at 7:46 am Permalink

    I love TodaysMeet!! I have used it several times in presentations for backchannel conversations & questions! I think #8 is a selling feature for teachers who really want honest feedback from their students. It’s a great way to see if your students are engaged, or if a teacher needs to adjust how they are delivering the content!

  4. Marcia Eisner 13 June 2014 at 5:54 pm Permalink

    Is there a way to display a presentation (e.g. a PowerPoint or similar Google presentation or something else) and the Today’s Meet backchannel questions on a SmartBoard at the same time? Thank you.

  5. Lisa Halverson 23 August 2014 at 10:56 pm Permalink

    I haven’t used Today’s Meet, and wish their website had more examples of how to get started.

    I will be teaching a university course that will meet F2F twice a week. I’d like to use a backchannel both for polling and for students to send in questions.

    Can these be going on at the same time? Do I let them occur in the same “room”, or need two separate “rooms” to keep things straight?

    If I want to separate one day’s posts from posts two days later, do I need to create separate “rooms”?

    Any good resources online about how to use Today’s Meet?

    Thanks!
    Lisa

    • Matt Miller 23 August 2014 at 11:18 pm Permalink

      Hi Lisa!

      TodaysMeet has recently added a new feature — create an account with their site and you get some control of the rooms you set up. This means that if you want to clear all of the messages out of a room (after a day or week of conversation or just to start fresh) you can within your account. I personally keep all of my class interactions in one TodaysMeet room. When I need to separate one class’s messages from another, I hold in shift and hit enter several times to clear out the conversation screen, effectively giving us a blank slate without deleting all of the prior comments. The account feature does allow you to actually erase all of the comments, which could help you keep one day’s work separate from another.

      TodaysMeet also has a transcript feature, where you can copy/paste all of your posts in chronological order into a word processor document that you can save to access later.

      TodaysMeet.com/help is the FAQ page for the site and has lots of questions with answers.

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have further questions … I’m always glad to assist!

      • Lisa Halverson 25 August 2014 at 1:10 pm Permalink

        Yes, Matt, this does help. Still wish there were videos showing the tool in action; I’m having a hard time visualizing whether this or Socrative or just sticking to iClickers is the way to go.

        You mentioned that Todays Meet allows polling. So if I propose a question such as “What were the most important learning achievements in ancient Mesopotamia?” and offered these answers (one isn’t the RIGHT answer, it’s to get a discussion going):
        A. Writing (cuneiform, phonetic alphabet)
        B. Iron (weapons, ag tools)
        C. Established legal code
        D. Trading
        E. Something else
        With iClicker, I can see a bar chart to tell what response received the majority, the minority, etc. I usually then encourage someone from each choice to speak up and explain why they voted as they did.
        I’m not seeing how I can do such a poll in Todays Meet.

        • Lisa Halverson 25 August 2014 at 1:36 pm Permalink

          I guess this is my basic question: which tool (Todays Meet, Socrative, something else?) best allows me to have a backchannel (taking student comments and questions during class) AND a polling system working during a single class session, without too much hassle. Todays Meet seems the simplest interface, but I think it may not allow polling in the way I’m hoping.

  6. Natasha 25 August 2014 at 5:19 pm Permalink

    If I set up a classroom, how will the students access it. Will they need an email address and password to enter?

    • Matt Miller 25 August 2014 at 7:06 pm Permalink

      In TodaysMeet, you just set up the room and give students the URL to the room. When they arrive there, they just type their names and then they can start typing messages into the conversation. Students won’t need any kind of log-in.

  7. Alvin 14 September 2014 at 11:55 pm Permalink

    How to use polling (refer to point 5) in TodaysMeet?

    • Matt Miller 15 September 2014 at 6:31 am Permalink

      When I poll using TodaysMeet, I just ask students a question and have them type their answers in a TodaysMeet room. It’s quick and basic and makes the results very visually clear.


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