Before setting up a text chat activity with your students, you should ask yourself two questions. First, do you, or your students, feel comfortable adding one another to personal social networks? And, second, do you use the same programs or applications? For example, some students might use Yahoo messenger, while others use WhatsApp.
If the answer to either of these questions is no, TodaysMeet might be the best option for you. TodaysMeet is a backchannel chat platform for teachers and learners. It allows you to create temporary chat rooms which your students can join by clicking on a link.
How to set up activities on TodaysMeet
First, create an account. You only need to do this once. Now you can create rooms. Each pair or group must have their own room for the activity.
When you create a room, you will be asked to pick a name for it. You might like to name it after the students in the pair or the activity you are doing.
Next, select how long you would like to keep it open for. Two hours should be sufficient. Don’t forget to click on the option anyone can join found below the room name. Now you are ready to click on open your room.
To join their room, students open an internet browser, such as Google Chrome or Safari, and type the web address http://www.todaysmeet.com/ followed by the name of the chat room you have created for them (for example, http://www.todaysmeet.com/scottsuzie). They do not need an account to join the room.
Once students have joined their room, they write their names in the nickname box. They can now begin text chatting. As the creator of the room, you can observe everything that is written, enter instructions, post links, provide feedback and answer any questions students may direct at you.
Your log-in page shows you all the rooms currently being used. By opening multiple tabs on your browser you can view all of the ongoing text chats simultaneously. In room tools you also have the option to print off the chatscripts.