TeachersFirst Edge - Chat/microblogging

 

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Twitario - Twitario

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Twitario allows you to see your tweets (or those of any Twitter user) in a diary format over a specified period of time. Enter a twitter username or sign in ...more
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Twitario allows you to see your tweets (or those of any Twitter user) in a diary format over a specified period of time. Enter a twitter username or sign in to your Twitter account. Share the collection of past tweets (cutely portrayed and dated as a diary) by clicking "share" at the bottom. Here is a sample diary of tweets from @teachersFirst. New to Twitter? Learn more from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

tag(s): twitter (50)

In the Classroom

This site could be used for students to submit an assignment of tweets they did over a period of time. Or use this site during a presentation on how Twitter works, showing the information contained in a succession of tweets. Have students submit a record of tweets that show their learning over time. Follow a Twitter user who provides resource links for a diary of resources that have been shared. Trace the tweets from the White House, any high profile political figure, or author over a period of time.

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BigMarker - BigMarker.com

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Big Marker is a new, free service for creating and participating in online conferences, chats, webinars, or other get-togethers. Big Marker is a good service for online tutoring sessions,...more
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Big Marker is a new, free service for creating and participating in online conferences, chats, webinars, or other get-togethers. Big Marker is a good service for online tutoring sessions, sessions for brainstorming, and any other online activity where people from multiple computer locations can congregate to share ideas. Create a public or private meeting room. Making the room public allows anyone to join. (There are many upcoming sessions that are public and listed on the main page.) Provide a password to other participants when making the room private. Share screens through the presentation board or write on the provided whiteboard. Chat through many methods including text, audio, and video. The creator of the Big Marker conference controls audio and video options and who is heard throughout the chats. Try the demo room first to become acquainted with the tools available and the interface.

In the Classroom

Use Big Marker for online tutoring or peer tutoring sessions and providing additional lessons to students for enrichment. Use Big Marker for brainstorming, planning, and completing projects. Create professional development opportunities for others in your school or elsewhere. Use for extracurricular activities, home schooling, or other online events. Set up a Big Marker get together during snow days so students can stay up to date with projects and assignments.

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Wiggio - Dana Lampert and Lance Polivy

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Wiggio makes communicating in groups extremely easy (and free.) Use Wiggio for messaging, creating a calendar, polling, sharing and editing, and conferencing. Use a shared folder for...more
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Wiggio makes communicating in groups extremely easy (and free.) Use Wiggio for messaging, creating a calendar, polling, sharing and editing, and conferencing. Use a shared folder for files and links. Wiggio boasts of the ease of use of its application which allows novice and more skilled users an easy to understand and use interface. How can it be so easy? It is actually very simplified collaboration.

tag(s): calendars (44), forum (9), microblogging (44), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Create a password for others to join groups you create. Students enter the group name and password to join. All groups appear on your dashboard page. Click on your group to use the tools. Messages to the group can also be posted by email or text message. Click on the green arrow below the post field to choose who the message can be sent to. Click on various tools along the top to open. Tools such as calendar, folder, meeting, poll, message, and to-do lists are very easy to follow. Videos on using Wiggio can also be found on the site. Change all information within your group in the Group Settings. Group information can also be viewed directly on the Wiggio site.

Use this simple tool for academic and extra-curricular groups who need to plan meetings, create schedules, or collaborate through messaging. Try this site with teachers and parents for solving transportation issues or with younger students by using the polling or messaging tool. Use this resource with high school students working on group projects for better group communication, managing work flow, and more. Take the time to model how to plan and manage group process using such a tool. What a study and life skill!

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Collaborize Classroom - Democrasoft

Grades
3 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this free resource to create a private area for asynchronous student discussions. Easily set up your class space including your groups. Use the welcome email to learn more about...more
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Use this free resource to create a private area for asynchronous student discussions. Easily set up your class space including your groups. Use the welcome email to learn more about Collaborize Classroom including 8 Online Icebreakers. Tutorials for learning how to enter students into groups, creating new groups, and choosing discussion types exist. Consensus discussions such as yes/no, multiple choice, and vote/suggest can be chosen. Open discussions can occur using the forum discussion type. Add video, images, documents, and more to your discussions. Students, however, cannot upload material to the discussions. Because it is a closed group, outside comments are not a concern (group members must be added, invited, or approved). The process from setup to a functioning site is very simple. Tutorials and technical support is available and make this tool very easy to use. Use participation and activity tools in Collaborize Classroom to track student participation. Use the available PDF's for assistance in using Collaborize Classroom and ideas to use in class to stimulate discussions and engage learning. Watch the videos on the site from educators that show how they use the site in their classrooms.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), forum (9), polls and surveys (48)

In the Classroom

Use this tool for discussions, project collaboration, voting on issues, and sharing resources in and out of the classroom. Increase student participation and encourage in-class discussions and outside homework, extension of the classroom, and activity. Use for blended learning activities that include discussion questions to extend the discussions from in class to outside the classroom. Provide multiple choice questions that they can answer, agree or disagree with statements, post comments, or vote on other responses. Use the discussions to debate issues in the school community or within the country. Critique and comment on current events as they are happening. Use to discuss environmental problems. Use groupings to create literature circles. Watch the videos on the site from educators that show how they use the site in their classrooms.

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Hashtagify - Daniele Mazzini

Grades
9 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Twitter users and Twitter novices can use this tool to better understand Twitter hashtags. Pull Twitter hashtags into one place to see the relationships among hashtags via mind map....more
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Twitter users and Twitter novices can use this tool to better understand Twitter hashtags. Pull Twitter hashtags into one place to see the relationships among hashtags via mind map. New to Twitter? See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers. To use Hashtagify, enter a hashtag into the search bar and the relationships between related hashtags will be shown. Try it with #edchat, a popular hastag for teachers! Click on a portion of the mind map (one of the related hashtags) and it expands to include other related hashtags. View the actual links that use the hashtag along the right side of the screen. Click on these to go to the actual tweet.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to follow conversations or to find information on tweets and their related tweets. If your class uses Twitter, use Hashtagify to look for tags you can use to narrow your conversations to those in a certain professional field or with a certain special interest.

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Tumblr - David Karp

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use Tumblr as an easy set-up, easy to use microblogging and blogging platform. Tumblr offers many ways to get content into your blog. Choose the text type of content for ...more
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Use Tumblr as an easy set-up, easy to use microblogging and blogging platform. Tumblr offers many ways to get content into your blog. Choose the text type of content for a more traditional looking blog post. Also choose to share photos, audio, or video. Use the quote, link, or chat option to share quick portions of text. Add additional context information to your post. For example, with a photo, add a caption; or for a link, add a title, description, or link. Edit posts in the dashboard, and add the content type and additional elements. It is best to stay with the plain text editor for ease of use. Create posts by email and SMS as well. Other ways to post content are available through the dashboard. Add posts by installing a Tumblr bookmarklet to your browser window. Use Tumblr to follow others and see recent posts from those people. Change templates and even customize templates. Find those you follow and those who follow you on the right sidebar. The Radar in this sidebar brings in the latest information being posted on Tumblr. This tool can be minimized by clicking the Hide link but does exist and may have inappropriate content. Use the Mega editor to make changes to a lot of posts at the same time. Find the permalink to your post by hovering over the post. The top right corner "folds down," and clicking there provides you the permalink. Note: Make additional Tumblr blogs after you make your initial one (click the + icon in the dashboard.) This allows you the option of making the blog private by password-protecting the viewing of the blog.

tag(s): blogs (88), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Use for posts that have visual elements such as photography and art. The ease of adding images to a Tumblr blog make this a great tool for the medium. Use for Family and Consumer Science to create a cooking or entertaining blog. Create a blog showing images from experiments or learning about the world around them in Biology with posts about pond life. Focus on genetic traits and the differences that exist including photographs of past ancestors to show traits. Create posts about elements and take pictures of items or objects that are made of that element. Or show images of various chemical properties. Create a Tumblr blog page for a specific historical figure and create posts that the person would make highlighting accomplishments, people they meet, etc. Note: It is highly recommended that teachers not allow students to make their own Tumblr blog for class but instead make a blog for ALL students in the class to use. The teacher can manage (and monitor) the blog.

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Edmodo - Edmodo

Grades
7 to 12
11 Favorites 1  Comments
    
Edmodo is a complete, online environment for classroom management, learning, and more. Use Edmodo for sharing content, accessing homework, grades, and announcements. Create a library...more
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Edmodo is a complete, online environment for classroom management, learning, and more. Use Edmodo for sharing content, accessing homework, grades, and announcements. Create a library to store your assignments, quizzes, and units. Post assignment reminders, quizzes (automatically graded), build an event calendar, and post messages to groups as well. Create multiple classes and have students join via the class code. Then, you can create small groups from your class rosters on Edmodo. Designed specifically for education, teachers can create a network for their classes where members can quickly respond to each other. Use the Snapshot feature to align quizzes with Common Core Standards. Gamify your class, if you'd like, using their badges or importing your own. Use the parent sign up to keep them in the loop. Find other educators and groups to connect with and follow your interests. Use Edmodo from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. YouTube hosts all support and training videos for how to implement Edmodo. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (99), blogs (88), classroom management (134), DAT device agnostic tool (196), game based learning (103), gamification (65), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

View a screencast demo of using Edmodo here. Before using with a class, create a master administrator and also create two to three "fake students" to practice using Edmodo for a few weeks. Use this suggestion not only to understand how to use Edmodo but to also determine how it will be used in the classroom. Allow students to register by using your group code. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

Use this service for class scribes to detail what has been learned that day. In Math, instruct scribes to discuss how to solve a problem. Better yet, allow students the opportunity to discuss how they solve specific problems to identify more than one manner of solving. During class presentations, use Edmodo to provide feedback to the presenter. During videos, students can maintain backchannel discussions in order to recap events, ask for clarification, or carry on meaningful discussion of the content. Use to create stories one line at a time with collaboration from the whole class. Ask questions from the days work to identify which concepts are causing problems with students and need to be reinforced. Post assignments in Edmodo. Students can access assignments and ask questions for clarification. Discuss environmental, health, or other social issues to identify other viewpoints and concerns. Still need more ideas? Check the Edmodo blog.

Comments

Edmodo is a terrific resource for communicating with teachers and students. It's Facebook-like interface is familiar and inviting for users. Tim, , Grades: 0 - 6

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TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in...more
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Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in other schools. This collection of reviewed resources related to Twitter will help you get started using Twitter safely for your own learning and possibly expand into using Twitter for class connections with other classrooms. The information includes basic terms such as "hastags," and even features a "widget" to show current "tweets" by educator-specific hashtag groups. Watch the sidebar (if it is not blocked in your school) to get a sense of the sharing possible on Twitter.

tag(s): social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Make this page a must-learn for teaching in the 21st century. Mark it in your favorites to return often to watch the embedded tweets from educators all over the world. Then muster your courage to set up a Twitter account of your own. Follow @teachersfirst or our lead Thinking Teacher @cshively, and we'll be sure to welcome you!

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Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter - Mashable

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Got Twitter? Then take a look at these 100+ authors to see if any of your favorites are listed, and start following them. Mashable has weeded out the authors who ...more
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Got Twitter? Then take a look at these 100+ authors to see if any of your favorites are listed, and start following them. Mashable has weeded out the authors who are just trying to sell you something on twitter. Their list only includes authors who are trying to carry on a conversation with their followers and present information they find valuable, whether it directly benefits them or not. Each author has a description, some of the books they have written, and an example tweet.

tag(s): authors (120), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

A whole class twitter account can follow favorite authors and authors' read through of class novels. The class can direct message them with questions about the book: how they came to write the story, are the characters based on anyone the author knows, and any other ideas your students might come up with. In literature circles a different member of the group each week can Twitter the author of the book as part of the "author analyzer" job. Learn more about Twitter and find many more ways to use it from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers.

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Weebly - Weebly

Grades
2 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create ...more
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create their own website. Besides the basic "drag and drop" features for the title, text, text with a picture, etc., the free version allows you to use cool items: photo gallery, slide show, YouTube videos, Google Maps, an assignment form, and lots more. They promise that the free service will remain 100% feature packed.

tag(s): blogs (88), gamification (65), microblogging (44), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

If you plan to have students create their own web pages, under your account, no email is needed for them, and they will have a special log in page. You will have to enter each student's name, username and a password. What's nice about Weebly is they will print out a list for you to give to students with their log in information. Though you can make your site private, you want to be sure not to use student's real names. Use a code or acronym. Suggestion: You can use the first two letters of the students last name, the first three letters of their first name, and if you have multiple classes, have them put the class period or code after the last letter. This works well if you're going to be grading web pages, since most grade books are in alphabetical order by last name.

Possible uses are only limited by your imagination! Create your own Weebly website for parents and students where they can stay updated about what is happening in your classroom, where students can submit their assignments, contact information, and anything else you might want to put on your website. You can add up to 40 students on one free website, so students can use their pages for projects and assignments. There is a free blogging tool that you may want your students to use for writing assignments, reflection, or reading journals, just to name a few ideas. You can have everything you need on one Weebly website! Find more specific blog ideas in TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics ideas.

Try using Weebly for: "visual essays;" digital biodiversity logs (with digital pictures students take); online literary magazines; personal reflections in images and text; research project presentations; comparisons of online content, such as political candidates' sites or content sites used in research (compared for bias); science sites documenting experiments or illustrating concepts, such as the water cycle; "Visual" lab reports; Digital scrapbooks using images from the public domain and video and audio clips from a time in history -- such as the Roaring Twenties; Local history interactive stories; Visual interpretations of major concepts, such as a "visual" U.S. Constitution. Imagine building your own online library of raw materials for your students to create their own "web pages" as a new way of assessing understanding: you provide the digital pictures, and they sequence, caption, and write about them (younger students) or you provide the steps in a project as a template, and they insert the actual content of their own.

After a first project where you provide "building blocks," the sky is the limit on what they can do. Even the very young can make suggestions as you "create" a whole-class product together using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider making a new project for each unit you teach so students can "recap" long after the unit ends.

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Cybraryman Educational Chats on Twitter - Cybraryman

Grades
9 to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Use this resource to find great educational chats (#hashtags)found on Twitter! View the various hashtags that have been created for a multitude of educator chats in different content...more
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Use this resource to find great educational chats (#hashtags)found on Twitter! View the various hashtags that have been created for a multitude of educator chats in different content areas. Scroll down the page to view a schedule of the various chats organized by day. Be sure to note the times that these chats begin on those days. View the various tools that you can use to "follow" the chats. Follow these chats to find incredible support and ideas for creating positive change in teaching and learning. Consider Twitter one of the best professional development opportunities teachers can participate in.

tag(s): chat (51), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

New to Twitter? Learn more about Twitter and how to set up searches to see these chats on your own time using suggestions and other reviewed resources included on TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

Comments

So helpful, very complete Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Paper.li - Smallrivers

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Missing great twitter conversations? Follow a user, list, or topic hashtag with this great tool that compiles Twitter posts into an easy to read format. Paper.li takes the tweets and...more
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Missing great twitter conversations? Follow a user, list, or topic hashtag with this great tool that compiles Twitter posts into an easy to read format. Paper.li takes the tweets and creates a newspaper style format to read from. Sign in using your facebook or twitter account. View the paper which takes tweets you search and separates them into various subjects. Current tweets in your topic appear as they occur. Read more about the various educator hashtags you may want to subscribe to on TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

tag(s): twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Keep track of trending topics for your students or for yourself. Keep up to date professionally by following several education hashtags such as #edchat. Links posted using the hashtag appear in your "newspaper" and can be viewed at any time. Share your daily newspaper with others by clicking on "Promote it" or "Share." You do not need to ever send a "tweet" to read and learn.Teachers at any level can see what their teaching peers have to say. Secondary teachers can share the latest on a political topic, disaster, or other hot news story by creating a "newspaper" about it for students to investigate. You can even "embed" the newspaper on your class web page or wiki.

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Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief...more
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief "tweet." Tweets are much more than messages to share what you are eating for lunch! Use this popular microblogging and social networking tool for a great way to communicate with teaching peers and real world people you may not have a chance to otherwise meet. Reply to others to create conversations for some of the best professional development around. Each "tweet" or message may not seem extraordinary, but using the sum total of tweets from those you "meet" on Twitter can have an amazing impact. Use your profile and settings to add a bio and other information, change your security settings from public to protected, find those who follow you, and more. Post your tweets through the website, mobile devices, or myriad of applications to manage tweets and followers. Keep track of your favorite tweets by starring them. Refer to your favorites list as needed. Wish you could take back a tweet? Click the trash can beside the post to delete (however, others may have already seen and responded.) Find many opinions about Twitter on and off the Internet. Remember you will gain only as much as you put into this service. Build a network of helpful colleagues to become a better learner (and educator). Anyone can learn from Twitter, even a class of elementary students! Still not sure what Twitter is about? Find a great explanation of how it works in this review.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social media (16), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Bring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).

Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.

As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.

Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.

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TodaysMeet - James Socol

Grades
5 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows...more
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows anyone with the URL for a specific chat stream to join in, using short (140 characters) messages. Participants can be in the same room or across the globe. The only "skill" needed is being able to type! Save a transcript via the link at the bottom of the chat and switch to "projector-friendly" view with one click so a group can follow the chat on screen. TodaysMeet does not require a membership to access these features, but creating a free account with an email address unlocks more features to meet your needs. The free account allows you to archive your rooms for up to one year, and custom organization of your rooms is available for easy access. You can only archive rooms for up to one month without creating an account. Filter participants, moderate their content, and use speaker colors to take control of your rooms. A TodaysMeet account also offers three different QR code sizes to share access to your room as well as the ability to allow participants to download the transcript. TodaysMeet may be blocked through some web filters as a social media site.

tag(s): microblogging (44), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

No special skills needed except the ability to create a name for your chat and to share the URL with others. Create "room" by giving it a name; decide how long you want it to last; and add a Twitter hashtag (optional). The room name becomes part of the URL. For example, The room called tfedge has URL http://todaysmeet.com/tfedge. Give participants the room URL. They join in simply by entering a name (or initials, to keep it safe) and clicking Join.

Use backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the backchannel, or ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. Assign students to watch a news program or political show and have a backchannel chat during the broadcast. Revisit the chat on a projector in class the next day or post the chat transcript to a class blog or wiki and have students respond further in blog posts or on the wiki discussion tab. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.

In world language classes or even autistic support class, have students backchannel descriptions of what they see as classmates act out a scene from a video, using new language vocabulary and/or describing the feelings of the actors. In studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters or - in history class - between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Money trial. Make brevity an impetus for well-focused thoughts and use instantaneous response as an incentive for engagement.

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Spruz - spruz.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for ...more
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for classroom use in K-12. Because of concerns over COPPA (federal legislation protecting children on the web), it is recommended for ages 13 and up. Users outside the U.S. do not need to worry about this law. There are related blog posts and debate about whether the law applies if you configure your site a certain way, but TeachersFirst cannot recommend circumventing the law.

Spruz provides an online space for forums (threaded discussions), blogs, "friends," groups, personal spaces for members, and more. As the administrator, you can control the actual set-up. Make your space private or set to public. Members still have to join to be part of the site. Assuming you can access the URL at school, this tool can provide a PRIVATE online space for your classes or teaching team as an electronic home for use in and out of school. This site touts that they have beefed up their business model in order to continue to offer free services.

tag(s): blogs (88), bookmarks (60), chat (51), forum (9), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Before you start, make sure filtering on the school network will not block your specific URL. See some of the tips from the Edge team. Set up a network, including name, URL, and description. Be sure to choose Private to limit viewing of your network to those you INVITE to join. Drag your desired features to create your layout. You can always change it later. Make appearance choices. Click on the parts of the site you wish to create such as chat, forum, blog, links, bookmarks, files, etc. Be sure to check the box that requires approval from the account owner for members to join. Change profile questions and options available to members easily.

A class social network has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Create groups for students to work on projects and use the space as a forum to work out tasks, scheduling, and file sharing. Get creative and ask students to play the role of a historical figure on a social network across time: Ben Franklin networks with Harry Truman to argue about the atomic bomb. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues. Include the principal or superintendent in your class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Your students themselves will suggest ways to use this all-too-familiar tool from their world. Imagine the "profiles" they could create as characters from fiction or inventors from history! Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Inviting members from another school or community provides incredible perspective into a variety of different beliefs and values. Definitely plan to model and use this tool in lessons about Internet safety and the "lasting" nature of one's Internet presence. Social networking is part of life today, and the opportunity to learn about it in a private space is important for today's students.

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Twiducate - Twiducate

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Looking for a microblogging (think twitter) alternative for collaboration or networking in your classes? Use Twiducate to create a microblogging platform for the students in your classes...more
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Looking for a microblogging (think twitter) alternative for collaboration or networking in your classes? Use Twiducate to create a microblogging platform for the students in your classes without venturing into the more complex public interactions of Twitter. Maintain privacy and a safe structure for collaborative learning. Post questions to elicit responses or use the safe environment for students to receive feedback on works in progress. Not sure about this resource? Twiducate was created by a group of teachers in Southwest Ontario to provide this type of service to students and teachers.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Create an account easily with information about your school and title. Though an email is required, create your account without email verification. Make a class name and code that students can use for Twiducate. Manage many options through your home page including adding students, entering bookmarks to share with students, viewing the public timeline (you may find a teacher to collaborate and share with,) and create more classes. Students do not need to register themselves and are added in through the teacher. As students are added, a password is generated for them.

Use this safe, private, closed system to blog and network in your classes. Students are able to access this site outside of school and collaborate there as well. Invite parents into this network and let them see what is going on. Teachers are able to moderate all posts and remove any unwanted posts. Consider printing the screen of student names and passwords for a hard copy in order to access the information. Be sure to discuss rules of etiquette for posting and commenting in order to teach students effective use of these types of services. Be sure to include actions for broken rules. Check your school policies about using such a resource and whether special permission slips may be required.

The possibilities are endless. Use for posting homework assignments. Share and publish bookmarks for students to use. Respond to students trying to get test dates and other assignments changed! Collaborate among small or large groups. Create study groups for review and learning of information. Use small time information gathering more effectively: Assign every two students a concept to research and share learning with the rest of the class for discussion. How can you be sure that each student has completed work? Have them blog their information through Twiducate. Each group would have a specific key word that they use at the start of their posts. Search for a keyword at the top of the screen to bring up all those related posts! Watching a movie that requires students to answer questions? Post prepared questions throughout the movie to elicit responses from students. Allow students the ability to blog their reactions to documentaries and work together for understanding. During poetry month, have student do oral poetry reading while others microblog their reactions to the poem as they listen. Share weekly links and comments about current events via microblog. If you are willing to risk it invite students to microblog questions and reactions to teacher and student presentations in progress. Suddenly listening is an active endeavor! Provide this resource for groups to collaborate in and out of class and offer options for learning at any time.

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ePals - ePals, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
    
ePals, a global community, offers students the chance to connect with other students around the world (200+ countries). The free student email feature is one of the most useful features...more
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ePals, a global community, offers students the chance to connect with other students around the world (200+ countries). The free student email feature is one of the most useful features of ePals, since complete teacher moderation is available. You may be able to convince a more conservative school administration to permit student email using this tool. This site is the largest worldwide community for global collaboration. Don't worry about the language barrier, there is built-in language translation! This content-rich site also offers lessons, interactives, printables, and more. The "Focus Areas" include Biodiversity, Black History, Election/Inauguration, Geography Central, and Human Rights. In addition, you can click on the "Projects" link to find several ready to use projects (Habitats, Maps, Natural Disasters, Water, and others). Click on "ePals Tour" to view an informative video clip about the site, downloadable brochures, and more.

tag(s): black history (59), disasters (39), environment (317), habitats (84), maps (288), natural disasters (20), water (130)

In the Classroom

Navigating this site is rather simple. Simply click on one of the tabs across the top of the website: Home, Focus Areas, Projects, Connect, Forums, How-To, and ePal Tours. Parts of this site require log-in. Registration does require an email address. The site does offer SchoolMail, the leader for FREE "kid-safe" email.

A lot of safety features are already put into place at this site. The SchoolMail (email service offered at this site) offers monitored mail, instant translations, spell-check, anti-spam filters, and virus protection. To learn more about the safety features at this site, check out the ePals Tour link.

This site offers an amazing assortment of class activities and possibilities. Collaborate with schools in Africa (or 200 other countries) for a geography project. Have your students find ePals to correspond with and practice writing skills in English or in a language you are studying. Use the ready to go lessons and interactives at the "Focus Areas" and "Projects" links. Get additional ideas for projects, by visiting the "Projects" link or propose one of your own based on ideas from TeachersFirst suggestions you read in other reviews, lesson plans, and articles. After viewing one of the informative videos, challenge your students to study one of the topics available at this site and create their own videos. Use a tool such as TeachersTube, to share the video clips, reviewed here.

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Plurk - Plurk

Grades
9 to 12
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Plurk is a microblogging platform for quick 140 character "plurks" about what you are doing, thinking, or mentally asking. Plurks show as a timeline along with those of your friends....more
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Plurk is a microblogging platform for quick 140 character "plurks" about what you are doing, thinking, or mentally asking. Plurks show as a timeline along with those of your friends. Comments to plurks are attached to the original and conversations are easy to track and continue. Plurk brings interconnectivity between friends and is more like a social network than a blog. Registration with an email is required and managing login and password is necessary. Instant messaging and mobile blogging options are possible.

tag(s): microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

This site is not difficult to navigate. Left click on the timeline to drag it to earlier posts. Unread plurks and replies appear as a number beside each plurk and in the timeline. Along the top of the timeline are user controls. "My profile" contains your contact information and details. Upload a photo, customize the colors of your outline, or add a widget to your blog or site that contains your plurks. Use "My friends" to invite friends, create cliques that allow you to segregate who sees certain plurks, and blocking other users. "Alerts" contain friend requests sent to you. Click on "Interesting plurkers" to see plurks from everywhere which you can customize to gender, age, city, state, or country. Use "My account" to change privacy settings and set up instant messaging. Create your plurks below the timeline and use the dropdown to change your verb from "is" to "says," wishes," "feels," and many others. Hover over a person's picture or name to send a private plurk. Plurk messages can be edited but replies cannot. Pictures, images, and links can be added as well. Also below the timeline are tabs to see plurks from you and your friends, your plurks alone, and private plurks. View your Karma -- which increases with plurks and friends and unlocks new features. Use "Embed your Plurk widget" easily to your blog by simply entering your login information.

Create a written and signed classroom policy that outlines necessary privacy settings and actions that would be considered misuse. Check these regularly and take appropriate actions to enforce rules when needed. Students need to be guided in how to safely blog and share information. Students may come across questionable content if reading through the "interesting plurkers" tab. As with all social networking sites, students need to be aware of proper ways to communicate at school and at home. Teachers should be a part of all student groups to monitor use.

Students can use Plurk to discuss group work on a project, create study groups, ask for help, or communicate with those who can mentor their class or subject they are learning. Many students will find success with sending bits of information at a time and letting the conversations evolve from there. Literature teachers may want to require students to plurk their thoughts within small groups as they read chapters or acts of longer works for homework, generating discussion and active reading. Social studies teachers could assign a similar task as students read about history. Math teachers may want to encourage "plurking" as students work on longer, more complex problems. Those writing lab reports for science class may find that plurking will help them collaborate in interpreting data. Consider setting up a regular class "plurk time" in the evening on certain nights of the week or for snow days.

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Backchannel Chat - Live Chat for Classrooms - Backchannelchat.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Backchannel Chat is a real-time educational discussion tool. Mute or remove comments. The tool includes a profanity filter and also a web based transcript for viewing and assessing...more
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Backchannel Chat is a real-time educational discussion tool. Mute or remove comments. The tool includes a profanity filter and also a web based transcript for viewing and assessing participation and weaknesses. Set the chat to discontinue when you leave if desired. Begin a chat with your email, display name, and backchannel title to receive a link for others to participate (no need to wait for an email). Free memberships allow one (endless) chat with up to 30 participants and storage of the chat transcript for up to 3 months. Choose the settings options to set moderation, etc. Premium features require the paid version. Unfortunately, the checkbox to require the teacher to be present for the chat is a premium feature, but you can set it to require teacher moderation for all messages so students cannot conduct after hours "chat" without your control. THis is a device agnostic tool with free app versions that work on mobile devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (51), DAT device agnostic tool (196), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Create a name for your chat and share the URL with others. They join in simply by entering a name (or initials, to keep it safe) and clicking Join. Use backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the backchannel. Ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. Assign students to watch a news program or political show and have a backchannel chat during the broadcast. Revisit the chat on a projector in class the next day or copy/paste or put the link to the chat transcript on a class blog or wiki and have students respond further in blog posts or on the wiki discussion tab. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.

In world language classes or even autistic support class, have students backchannel descriptions of what they see as classmates act out a scene from a video, using new language vocabulary and/or describing the feelings of the actors. In studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters or - in history class - between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Money trial. Make brevity an impetus for well-focused thoughts and use instantaneous response as an incentive for engagement.

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Google+ - Google

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This Google tool integrates seamlessly with GMail, Picasa, Google Hangouts, Drive, Chrome, and other Google products. This is helpful in finding, using, and managing all your materials....more
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This Google tool integrates seamlessly with GMail, Picasa, Google Hangouts, Drive, Chrome, and other Google products. This is helpful in finding, using, and managing all your materials. Use Google Circles to create groups of friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Users are easily added and removed within Circles. Photos can easily be tagged and identified in Google+. Privacy is easily managed including a variety of privacy levels on your content. Share content easily even within Hangouts. In Google+, individual posts can be muted (which is nice when you are not interested in them and do not wish to see them anymore!). Be sure to download the mobile app for Google+ to stay connected on the go and even upload and tag your photos.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (51), collaboration (5), DAT device agnostic tool (196), images (265), organizational skills (122), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Connect all content, pictures, and other materials together. Students who already have a Google account already have access to Google+. Users are normally invited to "join" via an email message. This may be problematic in the many schools that do not permit student email access. Note that notifications sent by Google Docs may also land in "junk mail" folders or be blocked by spam filters. We suggest that you experiment with a small group of students to determine what will work in your particular situation. One option is to set up the groups with the teacher as a "member" but have students work from home, using their personal email addresses, for group projects. Make sure you are protecting the safety of student work and identity and are within your school's Acceptable Use Policy.

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