Tech Tip of the Day: Today's Meet
Today's Meet is a web based back channel. What is a back channel? It is basically an online chat room. A back channel is a tool for maintaining an online conversation while another activity is happening, such as a presentation or lesson. How can you use a back channel in your classroom?
- Visit https://todaysmeet.com/ and create a back channel. It is free, and your back channel can only be accessed by someone who has the link. You can set the back channel to delete in hours or as long as a month.
- Show your students how to visit the back channel and use it. They can access using laptops or mobile devices. This is an excellent opportunity for teaching digital citizenship and how to use a back channel appropriately...polite, respectful, etc.
- While you are teaching your lesson, encourage students to raise questions and summarize using the back channel. Explain that you will pause every few minutes, check the back channel, and address questions or misconceptions.
- Advantages? You can teach without interruption, and more students are willing to ask questions and share when they don't have to do so in front of their peers.
- Appoint a couple of students to summarize the main points of the lesson. Then all students can visit the back channel for additional reinforcement and review.
- You can also appoint a student to monitor the back channel for you, and raise his or her hand whenever there are several questions that need to be addressed.
- You can print or archive a transcript of the back channel when you are done using it.
- I use a back channel when I present at conferences or lecture at university, exactly as described above.
- When we use Skype to connect with other classrooms or experts, I often create a back channel. All students ask their questions through the back channel and summarize key points, and I appoint two "question askers" who monitor the back channel and ask the questions from it. This prevents 20 children or adults all trying to ask a question at once.
- If I'm unable to Skype (due to bandwidth issues or blockages), I set up a Today's meet back channel and use it to talk with other classrooms or experts. I create a back channel and share the link with the other party. We use the back channel as a chat room/instant messaging tool so we can instantly talk back and forth.