Preparing for the implementation of the Common Core Standards includes implementing a high degree of technology. As a professional developer, I need to be able to model the use of how readily available technology can be used in the classroom. Yesterday my colleague, Mary, and I experimented with whether to use Twitter or TodaysMeet during our next presentation.
According to Rosa Golijan who wrote a blog article about Twitter over a year ago, there were 175 million registered Twitter users, not that all of them used it. If any of those 175 million folks are like me they might have created an account to try it once. I did, and then the account just sat there until I forgot my password and eventually even forgot I had opened the account. I started a new account when I started this website a month ago today. I am proud to have 37 tweets, follow 42 people, and have 16 followers on the account I use. In comparison I learned about TodaysMeet last Friday, used it during a phone meeting on Wednesday, and practiced with Mary yesterday.
You can use either of these services as what we call a parking lot during a meeting or professional development to allow attendees to interact with each other and the presenter without verbally disrupting the presentation. Engaged participants are actively listening. They usually make comments to people either about the meeting or an idea that they are having at the moment. When I started going to meetings, we whispered to each other, wrote notes and passed them all over the room, or waited until we had a free minute to talk. By that time we usually talked about something else.
Technology makes this learning process easier. With Twitter you do not have to have an account to follow a meeting. You go to Twitter.com/search and enter the name of the meeting that the presenter gives preceded by a hash mark (#).
The hash code will take you to a place where you can see all the notes that other people attending the meeting are posting. You can write a post to make a comment or ask a question. The presenter might have a co-presenter or a designated person who is following the tweets. When an important comment or question is made, the designated person may either answer the tweet directly, interrupt the speaker, or even text the speaker that she/he has a question to answer.
TodaysMeet works the same way, but you don’t have to sign up for an account, or even use your real name. The presenter creates a chat room, and you go to TodaysMeet.com/name of meeting, enter your name and join.
Once you press join, you have entered the room and may start making comments. You have up to 140 characters, then you press say.
The presenter can use these comments to tailor the meeting to the needs of the participants. The comments are saved online for up to a month, and anyone can access them, but ultimately they disappear.
Twitter is different. The comments are saved indefinitely. Twitter screens out all of the other tweets so that all you see are the comments made during the meeting, otherwise it would be very distracting. Another major difference with Twitter is that people can access information from other Twitter users’ profiles. This can be helpful since networking is a great benefit to attending a training or meeting. It is also nice to know about the presenter as well.
Mary and I decided to try only one of the two options so that we wouldn’t confuse ourselves or our participants. Which one would you use or would you use both at the same time? I’ll tell you after next week which one we chose, and how it went. If you have any advice for us in the meantime, leave a comment.