Using TodaysMeet with Students for the first time

I had the 2nd year students for two classes today (Child Development and School Experience). As part of my push to integrate ICT more effectively into teaching and learning, I introduced them to TodaysMeet, demonstrating it online and encouraging them to use it throughout the two classes.

There was the usual issue re: ensuring everyone had access to a wireless device. There was also an annoying hiccup re: using the university’s laptops which did, to be fair, get resolved very quickly—thank you, Stephen!

In Child Development, the focus was mainly on having the students recap their learning and asking questions (and getting responses) from various groups in the class (everyone was sitting in groups of 4). Unfortunately, time was short and not all groups were able to post their questions or get responses. Not the students’ fault, to be fair. What was interesting was that they all were engaged. The questions posed were mostly lower-order questions although I believe that in time the students will become more confident in using it and will start throwing more challenging questions at their colleagues. It may be worth reminding the students of HOTS and getting them to see the links between using it in the classroom and using at University.

However, it was in the School Experience class (which just finished) where I really started to push the use of TodaysMeet. The purpose of the class was to review three GTCS documents which are important for students teachers to know. Traditionally, I would have photocopied the papers, handed them out, given each group a section, asked them to review it and to report back to the class. However, this time I asked them to review it and post their findings on TodayMeet. I also asked them to summarise their section using no more than 2 ‘tweets’ (somehow calling them TodaysMeets sound daft). I also added comments once in a while.

To be fair, there were some comments which deviated slightly from the focus but I don’t think this was a bad thing. In fact, in our review of the use of TodaysMeet at the end of the session, there was a comment that it helped to keep focus and kept people focussed on the tweets. Another comment was that it kept the pace going as people were reading the tweets, reporting back to the group and using the comments to either post another question or to provide an answer.

It seems (to me at least) that some of the students who would normally be quite hesitant to comment were less reluctant to do so online although I will require more feedback to see if this is, indeed, the case.

There was a question about whether having a copy of the whole conversation on our Moodle page would be useful as it was unlikely it would be scanned in its entirety. It’s a fair point although I am hoping that students will engage with this software more in future weeks, looking for weblinks, making comments, adding thoughts while the lecture is taking place in order to enhance the students’ learning. My vision is that students may find research papers or evidence to support (or refute!) what I’m saying online which can then be posted onto TodaysMeet. I will need to monitor this to see how well the students engage in this.

Overall, the response seems to have been positive. Although the room was very warm and it was a 3-5pm class (first day of term!), the engagement was quite high. Certainly a positive first step.

Next Steps

  • Encourage students to engage with TodaysMeet during lecture;
    (questions, reiterating what they are learning, weblinks to information such as research papers, news articles, etc.)
  • Ensure iBoard is working properly and present the tweets on the 2nd board, keeping the 1st free for presentation;
  • Ensure auto-sleep is turned off on the computer (Running back to unlock my laptop is not a viable option!);
  • Respond to tweets during the lecture as appropriate
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