TodaysMeet will be unavailable for several short periods this weekend (March 6-8) while one of our service providers performs necessary maintenance.
They have apologized to us, and I apologize to you, for the short notice and inconvenience. This maintenance is critical and cannot be rescheduled. Hopefully the interruptions will also be far shorter than planned.
Times are given in US Eastern Standard and UTC (in case I messed up the conversion from UTC to Eastern).
- 2am–4am, Friday, March 6th (07:00–09:00 UTC).
- 7pm–9pm, Friday, March 6th (00:00–02:00, March 7th, UTC).
- 9pm–11pm, Saturday, March 7th (02:00–04:00, March 8th, UTC).
There may be interruptions during the following windows, but they should not be noticeable:
- 5am–7am, Friday, March 6th (10:00–12:00 UTC).
- 10pm Friday, March 6th–12am Saturday, March 7th (03:00–05:00, March 7th, UTC).
- 2pm–4pm, Saturday, March 7th (19:00–21:00 UTC).
TodaysMeet will no longer support Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) as of March 1st, 2015.
What this means
Being a “supported browser” means two things:
- I test TodaysMeet in that browser, and
- I will fix issues in that browser.
As of March 1st, I will no longer test TodaysMeet in IE8 or fix issues with TodayMeet that only happen in IE8. It does not mean that TodaysMeet will immediately stop working in IE8. It may stop working soon, though.
No other browsers are affected. TodaysMeet still supports:
- Google Chrome (most recent two versions)
- Mozilla Firefox (most recent two versions and most recent extended support release)
- Internet Explorer (version 9 and above)
- Apple Safari (version 7 and above)
- Opera (most recent version)
- iOS – all devices
- Built-in Safari on iOS 7 and 8
- Chrome (most recent version)
- Android – all devices
- Built-in Android browser (version 4 and above)
- Chrome (most recent version)
- Firefox (most recent version)
Why this is changing
The more browsers TodaysMeet supports, the more time I spend on testing instead of building new features. Older browsers also limit the tools I have available which makes building those features slower or—occasionally—impossible.
IE8 is a particularly old browser: its tool box is missing a number of very powerful tools that would let me fix or build some things in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks. It also holds me back from upgrading some of the other tools I use to newer, smaller, faster versions—upgrades that would make TodaysMeet faster and more secure for you.
Finally, IE8 use has been declining all school year, and now accounts for less then one half of one percent of all visits to TodaysMeet. While I do my best to make TodaysMeet available to everybody on all devices—this is a big reason why there is not a TodaysMeet app yet—this trade-off costs 99.5% of the users too much.
(0.5% is a guideline that I take into account with a number of other factors when making these decisions.)
Dropping a supported browser is never done lightly, but in this case it will help me fix a big list of paper cuts across the site, and help pave the way for an even better TodaysMeet experience in the future.
Join TodaysMeet for tonight’s State of the Union address! Create a room for your class or group to watch, discuss, and see real-time data about all the #SOTU2015 conversations. See reactions to the speech as it happens!
You get to have a private conversation in your own room, but see the reactions from all of TodaysMeet!
Here’s how to participate:
|Create a room with “SOTU” in the name, like “MrJamesCivicsSOTU”. See Update below!|
|At 9pm Eastern, come to the TodaysMeet State of the Union page and join your room.
|Watch the speech and follow along with your class and with the rest of the world!|
Can’t get to a desktop or laptop to use our page? You can still join in the discussion! Join your room as usual from your phone or tablet.
We’re analyzing conversations about tonight’s address and showing you the results in real time. How do we know if your room is about the State of the Union? You can tell us!When you set up your room for tonight, you can choose whether or not to include this room in our real-time analysis. If the name of your room contains “SOTU” or “StateOfTheUnion”, we’ll assume you want to be included, unless you opt-out. But you can opt-in any room!
Just make sure to sign in when you open the room.
What we’re analyzing
We’re still working down to the wire to bring you the most interesting data we can. We are automatically scanning the contents of the messages—not the names or nicknames—and looking at things like the most common and most interesting words, the overall feeling (happy/sad, positive/negative) and simply the number of comments posted.
If you want to mention someone by name, just put an “@” before it—like “@James I disagree!”—and we’ll ignore it.
Check back for updates!
Check this post and our Twitter account for updates through the day as we get closer to tonight’s address. See you there!
Create a room for your class or group to discuss the SOTU, then, at 9pm Eastern on Tuesday, come to todaysmeet.com/sotu, where you can watch the address, participate in your room—or join the official TodaysMeet State of the Union room—and see live data visualizations about all the SOTU conversations on TodaysMeet!
TodaysMeet is committed to protecting the privacy of all its users. While the exact data and visualizations are still up in the air, data about conversations in other rooms will be presented in an anonymized, aggregate way. TodaysMeet users will be able to opt out (or in!) their rooms completely.
2014 was a very busy year at TodaysMeet, so I thought it would be fun to look back at the work we’ve done over the past year. I collected a few of the meaningful stats about TodaysMeet use and compared them with 2013, to see just how much TodaysMeet has grown.
Rooms and Messages
In 2014, you posted 23,980,574 messages, well more than double the 2013 total of 10,528,603.
Those messages were spread over 597,077 new rooms, just about double the number in 2013: 297,854.
The most popular length for a room is still one week, which went from just under 60% of all new rooms to just over. You still love one-month and one-year rooms, but two-hour rooms aren’t so popular anymore.
2014 (top) vs 2013 (bottom)
Maybe two-hour rooms lost out because you can sign up for an account and close a room when you’re done. TodaysMeet accounts are brand new in 2014. We only added them in July, and by the beginning of December, 100,000 students and teachers had signed up!
Millions of you use TodaysMeet without ever needing an account. About a million more, in fact, than last year!
In 2014 we did a much better job staying in touch, and letting you know what was going on with TodaysMeet. We more than doubled the number of blog posts:
And more than twice as many of you follow us on Twitter now, too!
Thank you all so much for helping make 2014 TodaysMeet’s best year yet! We can’t wait to see what happens in 2015 and beyond!
The new Terms of Service largely overlap with the old version. It’s been tailored to TodaysMeet, and a number of areas—including what to do about copyrighted material and notes for users outside the United States—have been clarified. New sections have been added to explain both your rights and ours regarding accounts and Teacher Tools.
We’ve also updated the site to better protect users under the age of 13 by limiting the information participants without accounts use to join a room to just a first name or nickname.
TodaysMeet is sponsoring House of #EdTech, a bi-weekly podcast by Christopher Nesi!
Chris’s podcast features interviews with educators, discussions of tech in the classroom, and regular recommendations of new tools to check out. It’s a great resource, especially if you’re looking for new activities or ways to empower your students, and I’m proud to be sponsoring it.
The next issue will mark Chris’ first year of producing House of #EdTech, and to celebrate, Chris is ending the year with the House of #EdTech Smackdown. And he wants you to contribute your favorite tool!
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!
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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com join, but not firstname.lastname@example.org.
So My School has two requirements:
- Your students must have working school-issued email addresses with a school domain, for example myschool.org or students.myschool.org.
- Your students must sign up for TodaysMeet accounts with this email address. So they must
- Be 13 years old and otherwise agree to the Terms of Service
- Confirm their email address by clicking on a link in an email when they sign up
- 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.
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.
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.