Showing posts with label chat rooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chat rooms. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

10 Tools for Gathering Real-time Feedback From Students

Chat rooms and polling services provide good ways to hear from all of the students in a classroom. These kind of tools allow shy students to ask questions and share comments. For your more outspoken students who want to comment on everything, a feedback mechanism provides a good outlet for them too. In the last few months some of my old-reliable feedback tools shutdown and others were updated. This is my updated list of backchannel and informal assessment tools for gathering real-time feedback from students.

Backchannel Chat is a service that provides exactly what its name implies. On Backchannel Chat you can create a free backchannel room (AKA chat room) in which you can post comments and questions for your students to respond to. Your students can respond in realtime. Students can ask you and their classmates questions within the confines of your Backchannel Chat room. The free version of Backchannel Chat limits you to 30 participants at a time.

GoSoapBox is a platform through which your students can respond to questions through their laptops, tablets, and phones. Polls and Discussion in GoSoapBox are the meat and potatoes of the service. The Polls tool allows you to survey your audience by having them select an answer choice in response to a question. The Discussions tool allows you to have audience members reply to open-ended questions. One of the simplest yet effective survey options in GoSoapBox is a tools called a Confusion Meter. The Confusion Meter allows members of your audience to simply say, "yes, I get it" or "no, I don't get it." The Confusion Meter, like all of the GoSoapBox survey tools, can accept anonymous feedback. You can use the Social Q&A tool in GoSoapBox to have students submit their questions to you. Students can see each other's question submissions and vote them up if they want to.

AnswerGarden is a convenient service that allows you to embed a open-ended feedback tool into your classroom blog or website. With an AnswerGarden embedded into your blog your students can simply type responses to your question and see their responses appear in a word cloud. Creating an AnswerGarden is a simple process that does not require you to create an account. To get started go to the AnswerGarden homepage and click "create AnswerGarden." On the next screen you will enter a question or statement for your students to respond to. To share your AnswerGarden with students you can give them the link or embed the AnswerGarden into your blog as I have done below. Optionally, before sharing your AnswerGarden you can turn on moderation of responses and set an admin password.

Plickers is a great student response system for classrooms that aren't 1:1 or for anyone who would rather not have to go through the trouble of trying to get all students onto the same webpage or chatroom at the beginning of a lesson. Plickers uses a teacher's iPad or Android tablet in conjunction with a series of QR codes to create a student response system. Students are given a set of QR codes on large index cards. The codes are assigned to students. Each code card can be turned in four orientations. Each orientation provides a different answer. When the teacher is ready to collect data, he or she uses the Plickers mobile app to scan the cards to see a bar graph of responses. Click here for three ideas for using Plickers in your classroom.

Mentimeter is an audience response tool lets you create polls and quizzes for your audience to respond to during your presentations. Responses to open-ended poll questions can be displayed as a word cloud, but there isn't a true chat function in Mentimeter. You can create and display polls and quizzes from the Mentimeter website or you can use their PowerPoint Add-in to display your polls and quizzes from your slideshow. Your audience members can respond from their phones, tablets, or laptops.

The Q&A function built into the presentation mode of Google Slides is a good option for gathering questions from students when they are viewing slides that you or their classmates present.


GoSoapBox allows you to have your audience respond to questions through their laptops, tablets, and phones. Polls and Discussion in GoSoapBox are the meat and potatoes of the service. The Polls tool allows you to survey your audience by having them select an answer choice in response to a question. The Discussions tool allows you to have audience members reply to open-ended questions. One of the simplest yet effective survey options in GoSoapBox is a tools called a Confusion Meter. The Confusion Meter allows members of your audience to simply say, "yes, I get it" or "no, I don't get it." The Confusion Meter, like all of the GoSoapBox survey tools, can accept anonymous feedback. You can use the Social Q&A tool in GoSoapBox to have students submit their questions to you. Students can see each other's question submissions and vote them up if they want to.

Poll Everywhere is a service that allows you to collect responses from an audience via text messaging. The free plan for K-12 educators provides selection of features and quantity of responses that is adequate for almost any classroom. One of the neat ways to display feedback gathered through Poll Everywhere is in word clouds. The word cloud feature integrates with WordleTagxedo, and Tagul.

I started using Padlet back when it was called WallWisher. Padlet enables me to have students not only share exit responses as text, but to also share exit responses as hyperlinks. For example, if my students have been working on research projects I will ask them to share a link to something they found that day along with an explanation of how it is relevant to their research.

Formative provides you with a place to create online assignments that your students can respond to in class or out of class. Assignments can be as simple as one question exit tickets like "what did you learn today?" to complex quizzes that use a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and true/false questions. You can assign point values to questions or leave them as ungraded questions. The best feature of Formative is the option to create "show your work" questions. "Show your work" questions enables students to draw responses and or upload pictures as responses to your questions. When you use this question type students will see a blank canvas directly below the question. On that canvas they can draw and or type responses.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to Embed TodaysMeet Rooms Into Your Blog

On Tuesday I shared my discovery about embedding TodaysMeet rooms into blogs. I've had a couple of people email me with questions about how to do that. In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of how to embed TodaysMeet rooms into blog posts.


Applications for Education
Embedding a TodaysMeet room into a blog post might be a way to avoid having to post the link to your TodaysMeet room in a public forum. Rather than giving out a TodaysMeet link you could simply direct students to the classroom blog that they are already familiar with visiting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Embed TodaysMeet Rooms Into Your Blog or Website

After my bad experience with TodaysMeet back in March I backed away from using for backchannel discussions. Today, I took another look TodaysMeet and noticed a new option that has considering using TodaysMeet again. You can now embed TodaysMeet rooms into a blog post or a web page.

To embed a TodaysMeet room into a blog post first create a room in TodaysMeet. After creating your room open the "room tools" menu that appears at the bottom of the page. After opening the menu choose "embed." You can then choose to embed the live room or a transcript of the room. If you choose the live room option, people who visit the blog post into which you've embedded your room will be able to enter messages.
Applications for Education
Embedding a TodaysMeet room into a blog post might be a way to avoid having to post the link to your TodaysMeet room in a public forum. Rather than giving out a TodaysMeet link you could simply direct students to the classroom blog that they are already familiar with visiting.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to Use the New Room Controls in TodaysMeet

Over the summer TodaysMeet added some new great new features for teachers. You can now create accounts on TodaysMeet, close rooms early, embed chat transcripts into a blog post, and moderate comments. In the video below I provide an overview of those features.


Click here for screenshots of the comment moderation process.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Finally! TodaysMeet Now Offers Chat Moderation for Teachers

Yesterday, I shared the news that TodaysMeet now offers the option to create accounts and close TodaysMeet discussions early. Today, TodaysMeet added the option to moderate comments in a discussion.

To moderate comments in your TodaysMeet room simply place your cursor over the lower-right corner of the box in which an inappropriate comment was written. When place your cursor over that corner a "delete" link will appear. Click delete and the comment is gone.

Applications for Education
The ability to moderate comments has long been the feature that teachers have wanted to see in TodaysMeet. The moderation feature along with the new options for creating accounts and closing discussions early make TodaysMeet a better option than ever for hosting classroom backchannel discussions.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have used TodaysMeet to provide my students with a place to ask questions throughout the day. By using a backchannel tool like TodaysMeet my students who have a lot to say don't dominate the classroom conversation. At the same time my shy students are given a place to comfortably ask questions.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Now You Can Create Accounts on TodaysMeet and Close Rooms Early

TodaysMeet is a backchannel tool that I have promoted for years. Recently, I discovered that you can now create an account on TodaysMeet. By creating an account on TodaysMeet you can manage multiple rooms from one screen. You can now require people to sign-in with verified Google Accounts before they post in your TodaysMeet room. Perhaps the best benefit of creating a TodaysMeet account is that doing so allows you to close your rooms before their planned expiration dates.

Important tip: I was not able to create a TodaysMeet room when I was using Chrome as my browser. I switched to Firefox and TodaysMeet worked perfectly.  This issue has been resolved.

Applications for Education
I have long used TodaysMeet to provide my students with a place to ask questions throughout the day. By using a backchannel tool like TodaysMeet my students who have a lot to say don't dominate the classroom conversation. At the same time my shy students are given a place to comfortably ask questions.

The new TodaysMeet option to close a room before its scheduled expiration is a feature that teachers have wanted for a long time. Being able to close a room early will be helpful in case the conversation in the backchannel starts to go too far off course.

Friday, June 27, 2014

81 Dash - A Nice Backchannel Tool for the Classroom

81 Dash is a nice backchannel platform that I learned about today during the "Smackdown" at Hack Ed 2014. 81 Dash provides a place for teachers to create chat rooms to use with students to host conversations and share files. Once you are registered you can begin creating rooms. In your chat room you can exchange messages and files. As the owner of a room you can delete messages written by your students.

Students join your 81 Dash room by going to the URL that is assigned to your room. When they arrive at your room for the first time they will be asked to register. There are two registration options. Registering as a "guest user" does not require students to enter email addresses.

Applications for Education
81 Dash resolves the complaint that teachers have about many backchannel tools. That complaint is not having a way to delete messages or delete a room if students write inappropriate things in the backchannel.

Backchannels in general provide a good way to hear from all of the students in a classroom. A backchannel allows shy students to ask questions and share comments. For your more outspoken students who want to comment on everything, a backchannel provides a good outlet for them too.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cryptocat - Create Encrypted Backchannels

Cryptocat is an open source project that allows users to create private encrypted chat rooms. Cryptocat can be installed in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or as Mac desktop application. After installing Cryptocat open the application, enter a room name and username, then click connect. To have others join you in your chat room they have to know and enter the encryption key provided by Cryptocat.

For those of you who get that nostalgic feeling when you see old 8 bit graphics, Cryptocat will make you feel like a kid again.

Applications for Education
I often talk about using TodaysMeet for backchanneling in the classroom (I featured TodaysMeet in this free PDF about classroom backchannels). The only complaint that hear repeatedly about TodaysMeet is that you cannot password protect your conversations. Cryptocat allows you to do that. Cryptocat is not going to be for everyone, the encryption keys are long and it has a very "old school" geeky feel to it. But if you're up for it, Cryptocat might be the backchannel tool for you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interactive Illimitably - Collaborative Drawing

Interactive Illimitably is a free collaborative drawing tool that I learned about through a comment on my post of 11 collaborative drawing tools.  Interactive Illimitably provides a place for you to create a room with a custom name in which you can draw and chat with others. To get started just select a chat font style, name your room, and specify if you want your room to allow drawing, chatting or both. To have people join your drawing and chatting room, just give them the link assigned to your room. While there is a registration option, you don't need to register to use the site.

Applications for Education
Interactive Illimitably could be used by students to collaborate on the creation of story webs. Students could also use the service to collaborate on the creation of diagrams to use in presentations that they give to their classmates.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Meet Me - A Simple Way to Chat Online

Simple Meet Me is a free service for quickly creating an online chat room with anyone you like. To use the service just go to SimpleMeet.Me and click on the link below the chat code. That code appearing when you visit SimpleMeet.me is the code you can give to anyone you want to join your chat. Anyone joining your chat just needs to enter that code to join you. Registration on SimpleMeet.me is not required.

Applications for Education
I've written about using chat rooms and backchannels in the classroom quite a bit over the last couple of years. My most recent post on the topic can be found here. SimpleMeet.Me could be used as a place for students to brainstorm and share ideas about a topic. It could also be used as a simple help forum for students to ask questions of each other and of you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mister Thread - Password Protected Backchannels

For more than a year now I've been sharing Todays Meet with anyone interested in using backchannel forums in their classrooms. I like Todays Meet because it's very simple to set up a backchannel with it and it's advertising-free. But there's one thing that was always missing, the option to password protect your Todays Meet chats. Well now there's a service that offers simplicity and password protection. It's called Mister Thread.

Mister Thread is a free service for creating your own backchannel forum. Creating your forum (or thread) can be as simple as naming it and clicking "create the thread." Once you click create Mister Thread assigns your thread a url. Give that url to the people that you want to participate in the conversation. If you want to password protect your thread then choose a password that all visitors to your thread must enter. You can also enter your email address to give yourself the option to destroy your thread.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for sharing this good backchannel service.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned during my Reform Symposium presentation about backchannels in the classroom, student backchanneling solves a few challenges that all teachers face at one time or another. Those challenges are having time to hear every student's question or comment, providing a voice for shy students, and improving the relevance and timeliness of your responses to students and their responses to each other. The recording of my presentation is now available here (clicking the link will open an Elluminate page). 

Here are a couple examples of using a backchannel in an elementary school classroom. Here is an example of how I've used backchannels with my high school students. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Shout Reel - Create Public or Private Chat Communities

Shout Reel is a free service that allows you to create a private or public chat area or message system. When you create a Shout Reel account you can post messages to any public "reel" (they're term for a message community). You can also create your own private or public reel. If you make the reels you create private, you have to assign a password and give that password to anyone that you want to be able to post messages in your reel. Shout Reel messages can include text, links, and file attachments. You can also post a video message to a reel by using your laptop's web cam.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for his post about Shout Reel earlier this week.

Applications for Education
Shout Reel, like a lot of free chat and messaging systems, could be useful for hosting backchannel discussions with your students. The nice thing about Shout Reel is that if you or your students want to do more than just exchange written messages, Shout Reel gives you those options. You could post a discussion question in a reel you create for your class then have students respond by sharing their thoughts via typed messages or, for students who are more comfortable talking than they are writing, through video messages to the class.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Five Platforms for Classroom Back-channel Chat
Back-channeling During a Class Viewing of Glory

Two Examples of Backchannels in Elementary School

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chatterous - Create Private or Public Chat Rooms

Chatterous is a free platform for creating your own private or public chat rooms. Many other services also allow you to create your chat rooms. What makes Chatterous different is that you can join Chatterous rooms via cell phone, IM (Google Talk), or email. Should you decide to make your chat room public, Chatterous rooms can be embedded into your blog or website. My sample Chatterous chat room is embedded below.


Applications for Education
I've written about using backchannels in the classroom numerous times in the past, you can read a couple of those posts here and here. In short, a backchannel provides a place for your students to ask questions and post comments during lectures, film viewings, or other classroom activities. Chatterous could be a great tool for hosting a backchannel conversation.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Using Backchannels in Your Classroom

Earlier this evening I gave a presentation for the 2010 Reform Symposium. The topic of the presentation was using backchannels in your classroom. During the presentation I explored some of the problems that using backchannels can solve for teachers. The recording of the presentation should be available here soon. In the meantime, I promised that I would post the slides from the presentation. The second to last slide contains a list of tools that can be used for hosting backchannel chats.
(Yes, something weird happened when I uploaded to SlideShare to cause my first slide to get a bit off).


Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Neat Chat - Quickly Create an Ad-Free Chatroom
Five Platforms for Classroom Back-channel Chat
Back-channeling During a Class Viewing of Glory