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Scheduled Maintenance – Tuesday, July 22, 2014

UPDATE: Due to unforeseen complications, this maintenance window has been rescheduled for Tuesday, July 22, from 8pm to 10:30pm Eastern.

There will be a brief (30-90 minute) scheduled maintenance window on Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 8pm. During this time TodaysMeet will be unavailable.

I will be performing necessary maintenance and system upgrades. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Your New TodaysMeet Home Page

When you sign up for TodaysMeet, you get access to the new TodaysMeet home page, with all sorts of new tools to make it easier to manage your rooms!

Open rooms right away

Right at the top, you can open up a new room in just three steps! Rooms can stay open for as long as you need, up to one year. You can even create protected rooms, and limit who’s allowed to see and participate.

See and sort your open rooms

TodaysMeet collects all of your open rooms in one place, so you don’t have to keep track anymore. Not only do we keep them all in once place, but you can sort by when the room was opened, when it closed, or just by name. Not it’s easier than every to find the right room, and to know what’s closing soon!

Take control of your rooms

And most importantly, with the new home page you are firmly in control of your rooms. Grab the new, print-friendly transcripts; change who’s allowed in; and even close rooms when they’re done, all at your fingertips.

Sign up today and let TodaysMeet help you manage your rooms so you have more time to manage your classroom!

Accountability with TodaysMeet accounts

One of the most popular features of TodaysMeet has been that it has never required users to have accounts.

But accounts and accountability go hand-in-hand. And when working with teens, a little accountability—or the lack thereof—can go a long way in terms of classroom management, behavior, and even taking advantage of teachable moments.

I’ve been experimenting with accountability for a while now. Speaker colors are a useful, but early step. (They have many shortcomings but have been invaluable to learning how to achieve the same good goals.)

Using TodaysMeet accounts for classroom accountability

If you are able to have your students create accounts, you can combine speaker colors with user accounts in a powerful way by using signed-in protected rooms.

When users are signed in with a TodaysMeet account, their speaker color will never change, regardless of what device they’re on, what day it is, clearing cookies—even if they change their email address—or any other variables that confused speaker colors before.

And you can require your students to sign in by opening signed-in protected rooms. If you use a signed-in protected room with your class, your students will need to be using their TodaysMeet accounts to participate, so their speaker color will be consistent.

This works especially well if your district uses something like Google Apps for Ed, and the accounts are under school control. But it will work with any accounts, which only require the student have any email address.

Protecting your rooms

All TodaysMeet rooms have always been open to anyone, until now!

The announcement of user accounts last week carried lots of great news with it, but I want to focus on Protected Rooms, which are perhaps the most powerful new feature so far.

Since the beginning of TodaysMeet, there has been some need to limit who could join a room. Protected rooms offer more privacy, but also more assurance of who is in the room.

Signed-in protected rooms simply require users to have TodaysMeet accounts to join and participate. You can set the option when creating a room, or from your home page after it’s been created.


Toggle protection with the blue buttons.

Combined with other features, protected rooms will help teachers manage their classrooms, and they will help everyone keep their conversations more private.

Helping out Bigger Rooms

If you’ve had a room that’s been around for a while and has a lot of comments, you might have noticed it feeling very slow to load—or worst of all, never even loading!

I made changes last night that should make TodaysMeet way faster and more reliable when it encounters a room like that.

TodaysMeet now loads fewer messages at a time, and will fill in the history as you scroll down. If you are scrolling back through the history of a room, you may notice a few pauses while we fetch, but we want them to be barely noticeable, if at all.

A few hundred users may have seen messages that said a particular room was closed. These messages were mistaken (of course, a few rooms actually did close last night). To make them go away, all you need to do is reload the page. Still, the errors are confusing and regrettable, and I’m sorry about them. I will do better to make sure those changes happen more smoothly in the future.

If you experience any other problems reading rooms, especially rooms with lots and lots of comments, please let me know here, on Twitter, or by emailing help@todaysmeet.com.

Change who can access a room

A big thanks to Dave S, who let me know about an issue with opening new rooms, where some rooms were limited to signed-in users even if they weren’t supposed to be.

I’ve fixed the original issue and to help anyone who opened rooms with the wrong privacy setting, you can how toggle the setting from your list of rooms:

I will probably try to make this look and work a little nicer, but in the mean time all you need to do is click the blue buttons and you can switch back and forth.

Sign Up for TodaysMeet and Take Control

It’s a big day for TodaysMeet! You can now take control of the rooms you create by signing up.

Here’s just a few of the things you can do with a free TodaysMeet account:

  • See a list of all your rooms, including which will close soon.
  • Open rooms that only other signed-in users can join.
  • Connect a Google Apps account to sign in with just one click.
  • Close rooms as soon as you’re done with them—or if they get out of hand.
  • Set your usual name in advance to save time joining rooms.
  • Get a consistent speaker color, every time you join a room, from any computer.
  • Open rooms for up to one year.

TodaysMeet accounts are completely optional, and they always will be. You can open or participate in a room without ever signing up. Even if you’re signed in, you can create rooms that anyone can join—or restrict a room to only others who are signed in, it’s totally up to you! However, you will need to sign up and be signed in to take advantage of these new features.

There are more new tools for everyone, even anonymous users:

  • You can now see absolute dates (e.g. “1:49pm, Tue, Jul 8, 2014”) instead of relative (e.g. “7 minutes ago”) in rooms. Click on the options gear to switch back and forth.
  • Both the relative date preference and your speaker colors preference are saved in your browser.
  • Room transcripts are easier to read—and print—and dates are in your timezone!

Follow this blog or the TodaysMeet Twitter account over the next few days for more details about some of the new features and how they will help teachers manage their classrooms.

TodaysMeet included in the AASL’s Best Websites for 2014

I’m honored and proud to share that TodaysMeet was included in the American Association of School Librarians‘ (AASL) Best Websites for Teaching and Learning list for 2014! The AASL’s list “honors 25 Internet sites that provide enhanced learning and curriculum development for school librarians and their teacher collaborators.”

There are some great tools on the list, which covers six categories, each tied to strands in the AASL’s Standards for the 21st–Century Learner. Check out some of the other sites, and their Best Apps list!

Device Support Update

TodaysMeet works in all sorts of classrooms, from 1:1 laptops to iPads or other tablets to BYOD. As the ever-changing landscape evolves, I try to support a broad range of devices and browsers.

“Supported” means that TodaysMeet works. You can open new rooms, join rooms, and engage in conversations. Not all browsers and devices are created equally, so even on supported platforms there might be small differences.

If you experience any problems with TodaysMeet on a supported platform, please let me know and I will work to fix it as quickly as I can.

Desktop browsers:

  • Google Chrome (up-to-date and any extended-support versions)
  • Mozilla Firefox (up-to-date and any extended-support versions)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 8 and above)
  • Apple Safari (version 7 and above)
  • Opera (up-to-date and any extended-support versions)

Mobile browsers:

  • iOS
    • Safari (built-in, iOS 6 and above)
    • Chrome (up-to-date versions)
  • Android
    • Android Browser (built-in, version 4 and above)
    • Chrome (up-to-date versions)
    • Firefox (up-to-date versions)

If a browser or device isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean TodaysMeet won’t work, but that it isn’t tested and I can’t promise that it will work correctly. It’s worth giving it a try.

Copy and Share Your Room

Careful observers might notice a slight change to the bottom of the Room today. Where there was short today.io link to the room itself, now it’s easy to copy and share, via Twitter, email, or a classroom management system.

Copy Button

Simply click the Copy button and the link will be copied into your clipboard, then send it out to your audience or your class.

These today.io URLs are designed for sharing: not only are they short and Twitter-(or TodaysMeet!)-friendly, but they’re often better than the Room’s full URL. Every today.io URL is unique, so even if your room has closed and its name has been reused, the old today.io URL will let people know the room they’re looking for closed, rather than sending them to the new, wrong room.
Happy Chatting!

Interacting with the server...