Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Online Learning Environments - Today's Meet

Just yesterday I was listening to someone state their child uses Facebook to do their homework.  "What do you mean?" another parent asked.  The person responded, "The teacher assigns a worksheet and everyone gets together to post the answers on Facebook.  No need to copy papers in the morning anymore."

Students love collaboration.  It's easy to take the good from the above events and incorporate them into a meaningful learning experience using Today's Meet.  Today's Meet is a backchannel, a room created by someone wanting to encourage conversation about a particular topic.  Anyone with the link can join in on the discussion.  The backchannel is where people ask each other questions, pass notes, get distracted, provide feedback, and as in the case above, exchange answers.  Tapping into Backchannels lets presenters of any kind tap into the needs of the audience and engage them at the same time.


I used Today's Meet in class the other day as a sounding board for a lesson related to image manipulation related to iPhoto.  Students in the class enjoyed this means of asking and answering questions.  When I first introduced them to the concept of a backchannel silly, unrelated posts began appearing.  I encouraged this experimentation until the class had a handle on how the backchannel worked.  Students need play time with new tools.  The experimentation period provided an excellent opportunity for a quick lesson in digital citizenship, the need to be appropriate, and a reminder that everything written is visible to all.  There is no delete button.  I am convinced if we increase the opportunities for students to engage in appropriate, online conversations at school these behaviors will transfer to their personal life, especially when they understand the risks of poor choices.


 Students quickly became comfortable with the format of Today's Meet and we focused the conversation on the topic - iPhoto editing of images.  Some students actively participated in the backchannel while some checked in every so often to view the dialogue.   Overall, I was very pleased with the way students helped each other solve problems from across the room.  The backchannel gave everyone an equal voice in the classroom.



Mark Barnes at Learn It In 5 has created an excellent how-to video showing you how to use Today's Meet.




There are all sorts of ways to use Today's Meet in an educational setting.
First, create a room, then have students go to it, either in teams or individually.

Then:
Write a backwards story and then use the transcript mode to display the entire dialogue in reverse order (beginning to end.)
Mark Homework 
Check understanding during a lesson
Review game - students post answers
Write supporting sentences to an introductory sentence of a paragraph
Write key points of a particular topic
Brainstorming a particular topic
Warmup - Post open-ended questions to get students thinking on a subject
Editing Exercise - post a sentence that needs correcting

Just be cautious about the room name when you create the room and don't leave the room online for longer than two hours unless you plan on monitoring the room.  

4 comments:

  1. Toni Olivieri-BartonMarch 2, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Lisette- This is great. Thanks for sharing. I will need to incorporate it in also. Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Toni Olivieri-BartonMarch 2, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Lisette- This is great. Thanks for sharing. I will need to incorporate it in also. Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Toni Olivieri-BartonMarch 2, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Lisette- This is great. Thanks for sharing. I will need to incorporate it in also. Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
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