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Turn Rooms into Resources

Backchanneling is a great way to hear from everyone and have a conversation, but what happens when the conversation is over?

With Teacher Tools, your old rooms can become resources for you or others, because you can access, publish, and embed transcripts of closed rooms. Valuable discussion in class? Keep it embedded in your LMS. Great links shared in a PD session? Send a link to the transcript the next day.

You can always see your own closed rooms with Teacher Tools. When a room closes, it’s automatically set to Only me. But you can publish or re-enable embeds of the room just by clicking on the Access icon:

Closed rooms have all the same access rules as open rooms: you can make them public or limit them to signed in users or My School.

QR Codes and today.io links to the room will automatically point to the transcripts, so if you share those, you can be sure people will always get the right content, even if they can’t participate anymore. Embedded rooms will automatically switch to Transcript mode when the room is closed, so it’s easier to read the conversation.

And of course, since you can always see the transcripts of your old rooms, there’s no more worrying about the room closing before you can get back to it!

Sign up now or upgrade to take advantage of Transcripts and other Teacher Tools!

Control the Conversation

Teacher Tools helps you control the conversation by introducing three new tools: Pause, Mute, and Topics.

Keep the focus on the activity with Topics. Use them for prompts or questions: when the topic changes, everyone sees it in real time. Use Topics with Pause to give everyone time to think before answering.

Unlike closing a room, when you Pause a room, you can come back and restart the conversation where you left off! You can leave rooms open for students to read and refer to without worrying about what they’re saying when you’re not there to monitor it.

Of course, with Teacher Tools you can publish and embed transcripts of closed rooms, too!

If the conversation starts going off track, Pause to interrupt and refocus. One or two students continuing to give you trouble? Mute them for the rest of the backchannel. They won’t know they’ve been muted, so it looks like the rest of the class has just lost interest in them.

Sign up to get started and learn more about Teacher Tools!

Improve Privacy and Accountability with My School

My School lets teachers limit who can see or participate in their rooms to students and faculty of their school, greatly improving the privacy of their rooms. It also greatly improves the accountability by making it much harder to change their identities. Here’s how My School works, and how it steps up privacy and accountability for students.

How My School works

When you sign up or sign in to TodaysMeet, you do so with an email address and a password. An email address has two parts, which I’ll call the user and the domain. The user is the part of the email address before the @-sign. The domain is the part that comes after the @-sign.

For example, if your email address is help@todaysmeet.com, the user is “help” and the domain is “todaysmeet.com“.

My School works by limiting who may join a room by their email domain. So if I set up a My School room, it would let users who signed up with alice@todaysmeet.com and bob@todaysmeet.com join, but not carol@anotherwebsite.com.

So My School has two requirements:

  1. Your students must have working school-issued email addresses with a school domain, for example myschool.org or students.myschool.org.
  2. Your students must sign up for TodaysMeet accounts with this email address. So they must
    1. Be 13 years old and otherwise agree to the Terms of Service
    2. Confirm their email address by clicking on a link in an email when they sign up
    3. Collecting parental permission is strongly encouraged even if it’s not legally required where you live.

You can go into your settings to configure all the domains used at your school.

Privacy

When you use My School, TodaysMeet stops other users, even signed-in users, from joining your room if they aren’t associated with your school. Even though this is extremely rare, especially with unique room names, it’s additional peace of mind.

Accountability

More importantly and more commonly, because My School requires a verified email address from your school, it’s very difficult for students to change their identity and escape accountability for their actions.

Whenever you are signed in, your Speaker Color is the same. If you change your name, or even if you change your email address, the Speaker Color will be constant. For grading or, when necessary, for discipline, TodaysMeet accounts can improve accountability quite a bit.

But while it’s relatively easy to create a new email address at a free service—and use that to create a new TodaysMeet account—creating a new school email address is very difficult. My School means that just signing up for a new account with a fake email address is not enough: students must prove the email address is associated with the school, that it is real, and that they own it.

My School is part of Teacher Tools, which is available now for (US)$5 per month. Upgrade today!

Teacher Tools is Now Available!

It’s finally here! I’m so thrilled to announce that Teacher Tools is now available!

For just $5/month, Teacher Tools gives you more control, accountability, privacy, and enables new ways of integrating TodaysMeet and backchannelling into your classroom.

Teacher Tools answers the most common issues teachers face. Every tool is based on the feedback of thousands of teachers.

  • Increase accountability and privacy with My School*
  • Control the conversation with Prompts, Pause, and Mute
  • Turn rooms into resources: not only can you see transcripts of your closed rooms, but you can publish and embed them, too!

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who pre-ordered Teacher Tools, and to everyone who has contacted me over the years with issues, requests, and feedback through email, social media, and surveys. Without your input, Teacher Tools wouldn’t be here.

TodaysMeet will continue to be free to use without Teacher Tools: I am committed to supporting as many educators as I can. TodaysMeet—and I—won’t leave anyone behind as it continues to evolve into an ever-better platform for classroom conversations.

If you haven’t created an account yet, sign up today and start taking control of your rooms!

  • My School requires students to have a school email address (e.g. @myschool.org, @students.myschool.org, or similar).

Teacher Tools is coming November 1st!

Teacher Tools, tools to make managing your digital class room easier and enable whole new uses of TodaysMeet, is coming November 1st, 2014!

Teacher Tools is available for $5 (USD) per month, and when you pre-order this week, the first month is free!

Teacher Tools is available for Pre-order!

Teacher Tools is now available for pre-order!

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Teacher Tools makes managing your digital classroom even easier, and is now available for pre-order for $5 (USD) per month. Teacher Tools includes:

  • Permanent access to room transcripts
  • Keep embedded rooms forever
  • Pause conversations and restart
  • “My School” access control
  • Mute unruly students
  • Room topics or prompts

Teacher Tools will be available in a few weeks. Pre-order today and get the first month free! Your credit card won’t be charged until Teacher Tools is here.

I can’t wait to share Teacher Tools with all of you!

James Socol
Founder, TodaysMeet

Scheduled Security Maintenance – 16/Oct/2014

Update 2, 16/Oct/2014, 11:58pm: The maintenance has been completed ahead of schedule and with minimal disruption!

Update, 15/Oct/2014, 6:55pm: I just got back from an unexpected afternoon in the ER—I’m fine, just a minor lunch accident—and so am pushing this back to tomorrow night, 16/Oct/2014, at 11:45pm.

A security vulnerability named POODLE (link is to the technical security blog post describing it) was announced yesterday.

There is no evidence that this exploit has been used against TodaysMeet, where the issue is low-impact, due to the limited scope of what can be accomplished or stolen with it.

From what I’ve been able to determine, TodaysMeet users on supported browsers are at risk and so I am scheduling a maintenance period for 11:45pm to midnight, Eastern, tonight, 15 October 2014.

Follow along on status.todaysmeet.com. Updates will also be posted to Twitter, and this blog post will be updated when the maintenance work is complete.

As the necessary changes are very small, I am also taking the opportunity to perform some periodic security housekeeping procedures.

Users on supported browsers should only notice any hiccups if they are signed in, and will need to sign in again. Otherwise, there should be no noticeable interruption in service.

Users on unsupported browsers (specifically Internet Explorer 6 (IE6)) on Windows XP will no longer be able to access TodaysMeet.

As this issue is extremely widespread, and involves a fallback, 15-year-old protocol, users of IE6 on Windows XP are strongly encouraged to upgrade to IE7 or 8, which will be able to connect to TodaysMeet and other modern web servers, with better protection.

Coming Soon: TodaysMeet Teacher Tools

I’m thrilled to introduce TodaysMeet Teacher Tools, a set of additional tools that will make TodaysMeet an even more powerful platform for classroom discussion, that will be available in the next few weeks.

TodaysMeet has become a critical part of many classrooms and helped hundreds of thousands of students share their voice. Teacher Tools will improve that by helping teachers with some of the most common classroom management challenges they face.

With Teacher Tools, you’ll be able to

  • Get better access control and accountability by limiting a room to students or faculty at My School.
  • Access transcripts of your rooms permanently, even after they close.
  • Keep embedded rooms working forever.
  • Pause a room to put the conversation on hold and resume when you’re ready.
  • Keep the conversation on track by muting troublemakers.
  • Provide a topic or prompt that will stay at the top of the room.

Teacher Tools will be available for a low monthly fee this autumn, and available for pre-order in the next few weeks. You can sign up today to get updates on Teacher Tools and other exciting news from TodaysMeet.

One less step to close a room

Another small Friday Feature: closing rooms just got a little easier.

Right in the Room Tools, room organizers have a close now button:

When the room is closed from anywhere, everyone connected is alerted right away:

Sign up tonight, and take control of your rooms! Happy Friday!

Embed TodaysMeet rooms into your class websites and LMSes!

TodaysMeet rooms can be embedded into your class websites and LMSes!

To make backchannel discussions on TodaysMeet fit as easily as possible into your classroom as possible, you can now embed the room directly into most LMSes, like Blackboard, Moodle, Schoology, and more, and websites.

You can choose to embed the transcript of the room that is read-only and has the oldest comments first—great for reading a discussion after the fact—or embed a live room, and allow students to participate directly from your class site!

Grab the embed code from the Room Tools menu:

There’s even a WordPress plugin available, to make embedding a room in any WordPress-powered blog a snap!

Embedded rooms don’t lose their permissions: if a room requires users to sign in to join, it still does when it’s embedded. You can sign in directly from the embedded room if you already have a TodaysMeet account.

There’s lots more helpful documentation, including steps to embed a room into many LMSes. Get started today!

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