Tag Archives: TodaysMeet

Web 2.0ing your staff meetings

I had an awesome conversation with WRDSB  Principal Mark McMath after school today. Over the fall, he has been experimenting with some ideas for bringing staff meetings to life by making them more interactive and focused on discussion rather than information distribution. Check out these great ideas!

  • collaborate on generating agendas by leveraging Google Docs
  • gather good news itmes through a shared Google Doc – check out this  Sample Good News doc
  • share links to video resources in a shared document
  • use  Today’s Meet  to generate a back channel discussion
  • summarize group discussion in an online (Google) doc
  • gather feedback via Google Forms
  • create a staff  video message  using a tool such as  ScreenCast-o-matic

Mark has enjoyed learning through his Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter too.  He has found that Twitter connections provide a wealth of knowledge for personal use and sharing with staff.   He notes the importance of gaining comfort in jumping in and out of the information flow as it can be overwhelming.

Additional Resources

Follow  Mark McMath  on Twitter

Follow Cedarbrae PS on Twitter

Follow the #edwrdsb Twitter hashtag

~Mark

Advertisements

Student Voice: A visit to MsJWeir’s Classroom

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Ms. J. Weir’s classroom at WRDSB’s  Southwood S. S. to meet her students and gather some feedback about their online writing project. I was immediately struck by the calm and trusting atmosphere in the classroom. It was obvious that the students were very comfortable in this learning environment — a wonderful tribute to the teacher! The dialogue flowed freely and students were at ease contributing to the conversation.

I posed the following guiding questions to the students to facilitate our discussion regarding the project:

  1. How has writing online changed your learning?
  2. Is writing online what you expected?
  3. What would be the effect of removing the technology?
  4. Describe the pros and cons of back channelling (Today’s Meet and Twitter)
  5. What were the challenges?

The actual discussion happened in a rather free flow manner. I have grouped the responses to follow the question sequence outlined above.

Many students commented about the ability to ‘organize on the fly’ and being ‘in the moment’ when they write online because the process feels more natural.  Capturing ideas and shaping them is much easier electronically. The students also made that point that they felt more ownership for their work.

When asked question 3, the responses were unanimous: removing the technology would be a step backwards, poorer organization, less motivation and anticipated drop in achievement.

In terms of back channelling and online forums, many students commented that the variety of options to contribute to class discussions (Face to Face (F2F), EdmodoToday’s Meet and Twitter) enriched the discussion, drew more students into the conversation(s) and created a much stronger sense of community within the class.  The students all indicated that having the comfort level to participate was a key ingredient to their learning.

In the area of challenges, a few things were identified.  Access to resources is dependent on a wifi connection. We talked about the importance of wifi reliability and high levels of up-time.  I was impressed by the fact that the iPads used for this particular project were set up with a small number of key apps that were aligned with class needs and learning goals.  This was a welcome observation on my part as people often become app focused rather than learning focused. Well done! Students also talked candidly about the need for a level of self discipline. Having wifi enabled devices in the classroom certainly support student learning, and a more personalized component to the learning. Yet, the potential for distraction is still there — it must be managed.

I found this to be an excellent classroom visit. I appreciated the candid conversation with  Ms. J. Weir’s class. The approach to learning in this classroom needs to be shared and replicated.

Related Resources

Ms. J. Weir’s Blog

~Mark

Backchannel Service

Backchannel is the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside live spoken remarks. (see full Wikipedia article). Backchanneling provides an excellent way to capture audience reactions during a presentation. There are a number of Backchannel services available. I recently had the opportunity to participate in a session where the Today’sMeet service was used.

From the website:

TodaysMeet

Setting up your free temporary Backchannel space is easy: name the room, choose an expiry period, activate your room. TodaysMeet does not require any personal information for registration purposes. The URL to your room is ‘open’ to any user who knows the address. The URL is not published or distributed in any way by the company, so in a sense, does have a degree of privacy.
BackChannel

Depending on your audience, you may have to encourage the audience participation. In our case, we were using the Backchannel to submit questions to a presenter who was video conferenced into our workshop session.  The whole process work well, was free and certainly added to our learning experience.

Give the Backchannel concept a spin. I am sure you will find it a useful tool.

Related Links:

Website: Today’sMeet
Today’sMeet terms of use
Today’sMeet FAQs

~ Mark