Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Website that Encourages Immediate Academic Feedback

Good Morning, Who's Who and Who's New.  I'm Deniece, from This Little Piggy Reads.   I used to be a 3rd Grade Reading Teacher, now I'm a 5th Grade GT Enrichment Teacher on a mission to increase engagement with technology and teach through problem based learning.

For today's post you're going to need a little techno-geek vocabulary, "backchannel".  You know how you're at a meeting and people are talking amongst themselves, passing notes or texting eachother?  This is the backchannel.  It's basically everything else that is going on aside from what the speaker is saying.  Today I'm going to introduce you to a site called Today'sMeet where teachers can control the backchannel.

How does it work?   
While a presenter is presenting, the audience is posting feedback, questions or comments on a live feed that can be projected on a screen/whiteboard and seen by everyone in the audience.

How can it help teachers? 
The High School English Teacher holding a class discussion on a novel, can keep the backchannel focused on the novel by having students make comments as they read/discuss.  The teacher can also pose a question (similar to twitter) and have students respond.  The amazing part is that it is basically a private chat room that disappears after the chat is over.  Today'sMeet allows the teacher to print a copy of the transcript after the chat is over.  Therefore, the teacher could require each student to make 3 comments during the discussion and give a grade based on their comments. Perhaps 1 opinion,1 thoughtful reply to another person's comment and 1 response or question using text evidence.
The Middle School Science Teacher is having students present and demonstrate their STEM Projects. Today'sMeet will engage students in the presentation and allow them to give immediate academic feedback. Depending on your student's comfort level with academic feedback, it would be a good idea to give them a sheet to scaffold their responses.  Again, you can require each student to make 2 quality feedbacks and give a grade based on their replies.
An Intermediate Teacher is using the gradual release model (I do, we do, you do) to teach a difficult math concept.  As s/he is releasing students to work on their own, s/he can use Today'sMeet like Twitter and post a Q1: Question.  Students can respond using an A1: Answer.  Another option would be to pose Q's for each table to respond to.  For example: Table 1Q: and when the students responded, they might want to label their response Table 1A:.  Then, students could put a hashtag with their name to close the statement.  It would DEFINITELY let the teacher know who needs help or reinforcement!  
An Upper Elementary Math Teacher has students working in stations and is working with a small group. Remember, the strategy Ask 3 Before Me?  Well, what about Post your Q on Today'sMeet before asking the teacher?  Students can write quick questions on Today'sMeet and other students can answer them. Freeing up the teacher to work with a small group or re-teach a concept.      

Is it easy to use?
Yup, it is very easy!  There are no accounts and no passwords.  Can you say awesome?  Today'sMeet has a quick video tutorial <HERE>.  Basically, you set up a room and decide on how long you want it to be live. Then, you create a room.  Teachers can copy the link to their room and either e-mail it students or post it on a teacher website.  Teachers cannot delete off topic or duplicate comments.  Be sure to set guidelines for use.  Better yet, have students set their own guidelines.   

Think about using this site the next time you're having a discussion, presentation or small groups.