Not a sign in a butcher’s shop as you might expect – though every bit as badly punctuated – TodaysMeet is a great free online chat tool that can liven up any lesson.
Text-based communication can help draw out contributions from quieter students who prefer expressing themselves in writing, and it can help all learners reflect more on their ideas before adding them to the discussion.
TodaysMeet also allows you, the teacher, to decide how long discussions will remain active – from two hours to one month – and to archive discussions for language analysis, feedback and error correction.
For an example of how it could work for you, here’s what I did with my S5I class last weekend:
- created four rooms named “greendiscussion1” to “greendiscussion4” with one question about green issues in each room
- modelled discussion language with two other students and modelled adding our ideas to “greendiscussion1”
- put students into groups of three – one iPad per group – and asked them to open each room in a different tab in Safari
- set a time limit of eight minutes for them to discuss the questions, add their ideas for each one and respond to other groups’ ideas in the room
- displayed the transcripts on the traditional whiteboard and did some peer error correction using board pens – with an IWB you could “annotate over desktop” or import the transcripts into ActivInspire, or print them off for students to self-correct first
- collected whole-class feedback by summarising the main points in each discussion and asking different students to develop them
- got students to reflect on the discussion process itself.
Other ways of using it include:
- brainstorming ideas whole-class before a listening or reading
- as a backchannel during a lesson for collecting student feedback
- reflecting on what students have learned during a lesson
- having an asynchronous discussion ideas a outside the classroom.
If you’ve used TodaysMeet, what did you do with it?