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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!

One Hour Rooms

TodaysMeet now supports one-hour long rooms!

Many of you have already noticed. One-hour rooms, which replaced the unpopular 12-hour option, are already the second most common.

How can we do even better? Please take the survey and let us know how you’re using rooms. Your input will help make TodaysMeet better!

TodaysMeet is now exclusively HTTPS

Since November, all pages on TodaysMeet.com have been served over HTTPS.

This makes TodaysMeet more secure for all users and I’m very happy to report the transition was smooth and there have been only a few small issues.

This blog, and the service status and uptime pages, are still served over HTTP, but they are entirely separate and I’m working to separate them further.

2014 State of the Union Room

Joining with teachers and students across the country, I’ve opened an official TodaysMeet State of the Union room. The address begins at 9pm, Eastern, and I’ll be there (I’m “James Socol”) to watch and chat along with you all.

This is President Obama’s 6th State of the Union, and takes place in a congressional election year. 6th SOTUs have always been important because of their potential impact on the upcoming elections. How will policy statements tip the scales in each district? What role will party politics play in the speech?

Join me at 9pm this evening, and let’s find out together!

Quick Tip! Room Tools

TodaysMeet Rooms have several useful tools available at the bottom right-hand corner of the messages.

Room Tools

Projector

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.

Transcript

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.

Options

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!

Scheduled Maintenance: Sunday 22 September 2013

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 help@todaysmeet.com.

Using TodaysMeet in my English 8 Classroom

This is a guest post by Kris Campea, a grade 8 English teacher. Find her on Twitter.

TodaysMeet on a ProjectorI 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. Kris' class uses TodaysMeetStudents 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. Example of conversation in Kris' class.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.

Kris Campea
@TchEngRox

New Feature: Quickly follow speakers by color

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:

The Room Options button, located below the room content.

First, find the Options button in the bottom right corner of the messages. Click it to open (or close) the list of Room Options.

Enabling the Speaker Colors option

Use the check box to toggle the Speaker Colors option. Here’s what it looks like!

A room with Speaker Colors enabled.

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 help@todaysmeet.com with your comments, concerns, or suggestions.

Happy Backchannelling!

Issues with Internet Explorer Addressed

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 help@todaysmeet.com. Please try to include the browser and operating system so I can attempt to fix and test the issue faster.

Welcome to TodaysMeet 2.0!

The system upgrade was a success!

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 help@todaysmeet.com.

[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.

Interacting with the server...