TodaysMeet Rooms have several useful tools available at the bottom right-hand corner of the messages.
When you want to display a Room somewhere with just the content, like a projector, IWB, or on another computer off to the side, you can use the Projector view. You’ll only get the live stream of messages, front-and-center, without the space to write posts.
Want to save the Room after the discussion is over? Transcript view gives you the room in chronological order for easier reading, and from there it’s easy to copy-and-paste, save, or print the discussion to save for later.
You’ll find the Options menu by clicking on the Gear. The Options menu tells you when the Room will close, and lets you toggle Speaker Colors.
Explore the Room Tools in the bottom corner and keep your eyes peeled for new tools and features!
There will be a brief scheduled maintenance window on Sunday from 10am to 11am Eastern Time. TodaysMeet will be unavailable during this time. Please follow along here, on Twitter, or at status.todaysmeet.com for updates.
This maintenance window is to pick up updates to the code and to the hosting systems.
If you have questions or a room that closes during this maintenance window please email email@example.com.
This is a guest post by Kris Campea, a grade 8 English teacher. Find her on Twitter.
I am a strong proponent of discussions in my English classes, and I’m always looking for new ways for students to express themselves, especially through using technology. I immediately realized the potential for Twitter in the classroom as a backchannel after participating in multiple chats. I decided that Twitter would be my go-to backchannel tool, and I even went so far as to create 40 gmail aliases so that I could create 40 unique to my class Twitter handles for students to use. Let’s just say that once I got the gmail aliases created, I really got tired at the thought of creating those 40 Twitter handles and then getting those to students and making sure that they weren’t abused.
Fortunately, I was saved when I was in a tech training, and the presenter mentioned TodaysMeet as a backchannel. I wish I could remember the who and the when because I would like to thank that presenter for saving my sanity! See, I no longer needed to create 40 unique to me Twitter handles. I no longer needed to worry about how 5 students over the course of a day or unit would share a handle appropriately. I could create a TodaysMeet room, give students the room link, have them join using their first name and last initial, and start discussing!
Before our first discussion, I did some prep work with the students about being good digital citizens: this isn’t a social tool, so no “Yo, Suzy! ‘Sup?” kinds of interactions. No text language–abbreviations? Yes, because of the 140 character limit–LOLs and IDKs? Nope. It’s still an English class, after all.
To practice using the backchannel, I incorporated TodaysMeet into our literature circle discussions of the story “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. Students asked and answered guided questions about the text, and one student in each group acted as a recorder using the TodaysMeet backchannel, which I projected on the screen. What was really powerful about this process what that students would read the responses as they were recorded in the backchannel and that would spark more discussion! The room wasn’t silent, students were never at a loss for having something to talk about, and they taught each other about the story in a way that wouldn’t have been done if they just talked within their small groups. After each class was done with their discussion, I was able to save their backchannel work as a .pdf transcript.
The second time students used TodaysMeet was during our Socratic Seminars about Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. One thing I’ve found frustrating about Socratic Seminars is that the outer circle isn’t always engaged like the inner circle is. When we do Socratic discussions, I am sitting in the inner circle to redirect or ask for clarification if necessary, so I find it difficult to monitor the outer circle at the same time. With The Call of the Wild, I solved the problem by checking out our media center’s netbook cart, which has 20 netbooks (just enough with a few extra in my biggest class of 37), so that each desk in outer circle had a net book.
I asked for a volunteer from the outer circle to type in the questions asked in the inner circle into the TodaysMeet backchannel, which again was projected on the screen. While the inner circle was verbally discussing the essential questions, the outer circle students were participating via the backchannel. (Side note: I reminded students about appropriate use of the backchannel before we started and explained that the outer circle was not verbal. No talking and typing at the same time.). When students in the inner circle paused or couldn’t come up with something else to say, a student would look up at the screen and see either a question or a comment and the conversation would continue.
Halfway through the class, the inner circle became the outer circle and vice versa. Again, I asked an outer circle student to record the questions as they were asked and then the discussion was up and running: inner circle verbally; outer circle non-verbally. Here’s where the power of TodaysMeet truly kicked in. A lot of students are very shy and struggle with Socratic Seminars because of the pressure to speak to a larger group; they don’t want to interrupt another speaker; or they are afraid of being interrupted. These students shine when they finally get to the backchannel. They can say what they want to say without nervousness or fear they’ll be talked over!
And as I did with their first discussion, I saved the transcripts for The Call of the Wild discussions as .pdfs. Check out the transcripts in this Dropbox folder if you’re interested in seeing what their backchannel discussions looked like.
I am looking forward to using TodaysMeet during the upcoming school year in discussions and other units of study.
Sometimes, especially when conversation is moving quickly, it can be hard to quickly identify who said what.
As of today, you can optionally turn on Speaker Colors. These help you follow a conversation faster without reading everyone’s name all the time.
Here’s how to turn Speaker Colors on:
First, find the Options button in the bottom right corner of the messages. Click it to open (or close) the list of Room Options.
Use the check box to toggle the Speaker Colors option. Here’s what it looks like!
Here’s a room with three participants named James. Confusing! But with Speaker Colors enabled, it’s easy to differentiate. Even when James 1 changes his user name (how conscientious!) his Speaker Color stays the same, so we can keep following his contributions.
For those wondering, I have worked on a team with three Jameses. It was a fantastic team. And sometimes confusing.
This feature—and others to come—will probably evolve slightly over time, but for me to make it better I need your feedback! Comment here, find me on Twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, concerns, or suggestions.
Several users have pointed out issues with Internet Explorer, particularly with versions 8 and below. These issues have been addressed and the fix is now live. I apologize for the inconvenience while this was resolved.
If you see experience any issues using TodaysMeet, please leave a comment here or email me at email@example.com. Please try to include the browser and operating system so I can attempt to fix and test the issue faster.
I am beyond thrilled to introduce you to the brand shiny new TodaysMeet. Things may not seem very different at first glance, so I wanted to give a quick rundown of the visible, and not so visible, changes.
First, the visible changes:
- Year-long rooms are back! They’ve been missing for a while but now you can open up a room for a year.
- The site has been streamlined (a little)! Most of the gradients have been replaced with simple flat colors. Expect more simplifying and streamlining of the site over the summer—but nothing huge.
- More keyboard-friendly. When chatting in a room, the Enter key submits your comment. (Hold Shift and hit Enter for a new line.)
- Less repetitive. TodaysMeet now tries to prevent accidental duplicate posts.
- It’s faster. The whole site should feel faster when using it.
Then there are some less visible changes, too. These are generally about making TodaysMeet easier to run or easier to build new features.
- A whole new platform. TodaysMeet was originally created around five years ago and this is the first major update to the code.
- Completely rewritten front-end. The site should feel faster, smoother, and take advantage of new browsers when it can.
- New error tracking and performance monitoring tools make it possible for me to identify, understand, and respond to issues with the TodaysMeet.
If you discover any issues, or if anything seems broken, please comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Update to clarify, 30 June 2013] The “managing tools” I referred to above are administrative tools that make it easy for me to respond to your requests faster. They are not yet available within TodaysMeet.
Starting right now, TodaysMeet will be offline for several hours.
Please follow along on Twitter or at status.todaysmeet.com for updates. I’ll update this post when the window is over.
TodaysMeet will be offline all of Sunday, May 26, 2013, for service upgrades.
After months of testing and planning, on Sunday, May 26th, I am upgrading TodaysMeet to a new, better platform.
I expect the downtime to be significantly shorter than all-day but there may be brief (or not so brief) service interruptions all day. Monday (Memorial Day in the United States) and Tuesday may also see interruptions, but I plan to be on-hand to address anything that comes up immediately.
I’m very excited for this change, which will bring TodaysMeet onto a much more modern and powerful platform.
In February, I set up a testing server for the next version of TodaysMeet. Thank all of you who helped me test and discover issues.
In preparation for the switch to the new version, I will be shutting down the preview site in one week, that is Sunday, May 19th, 2013. Note that this only affects the preview, not TodaysMeet itself.
If you have been using preview.todaysmeet.com and want to save the contents of any rooms, please do so before May 19th, as all preview data will be permanently removed.
Thank you, again, for your help testing and reporting issues, and I’m excited to make the new version into the current version shortly.
Update (20 May 2013): The preview site has been closed and all data has been permanently removed.
If you’ve ever wondered if TodaysMeet was suffering from an outage, you can now check, with real-time uptime status and reports at uptime.todaysmeet.com.
I’m making this data public and easily accessible because it is part of my commitment to providing a reliable service. Thanks to Pingdom for providing a great uptime-monitoring service with reports.