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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