The BGL staff just returned from another excellent CUE Conference in Palm Springs. It was wonderful to see our friends from Menlo School (with whom we have conducted several international collaborations) and from Lumosity, who were there to give this awesome presentation on their neuroscience-backed brain-training games.
We have many takeaways from the event, but one stands out as the easiest to implement immediately in 1:1 classrooms like ours. Today’s Meet is an incredibly simple and easy-to-use backchannel tool. We’ve seen this used before but had preferred to use Googledoc forms when having class-wide conversations. We will continue to use these forms when student answers need to be collected and/or graded (we prefer the Googledoc spreadsheet to Today’s Meet’s transcript function). But when having informal conversations – when the point of the conversation is the conversation itself – Today’s Meet is the way to go. Best of all, it’s free!
Step 1: Go to todaysmeet.com.
Step 2: Name your room. Make it easy as this name will be added to the end of the todaysmeet.com/ URL. Select when the room will expire (up to one month).
Step 3: Share your room’s URL with your students.
And voila. Your students will type their name in and start conversing about the topic of the day. We asked our students if they liked it, and here’s some of what they said:
Now, there are of course some issues. Googledocs can be private, whereas anyone with the room’s URL can find your Today’s Meet room. Plus, mischievous students will quickly figure out that they can enter a fake name and anonymously submit answers. The latter is a liability of not requiring a sign-in, but that’s also one of the things our students liked about the product. If they abuse it, it’s easy to switch back to the less-preferred tool. This may be incentive enough to keep them in line (and online!).