I recently came across a website called SimpleMeet where a chat room is created and users can invite others to chat in the room. I immediately felt the wheels turning and light bulbs going off. There are so many wonderful things that can be done with this site!
When one arrives, it opens a box that has either a code or a blank space. Take the code, share it with others and voila, you have a chat room open and ready to use. The wonderful thing about it- you can send a transcript out after the chat is complete so it can be graded or utilized later for another component of whatever it is you are doing.
I posted an invite on twitter and someone who followed me joined the chat and we conversed anonymously. It made me start developing some ideas and ways to use it in a classroom setting to encourage collaboration amongst students or also among colleagues.
So often, teachers are even afraid to speak up at a meeting with peers. Wouldn't this be a great way to collaborate without feeling intimidated?
As a teacher, I can immediately see this being used for all sorts of interaction. It can be done anonymously or by using a name. Let's look at some of the ways we can use it.
1. Quick warmup- Students come in to a question on board and are asked to discuss it. It could be based on something that was supposed to be read the previous day or could be a review item.
2. Q/A at end of class- Students could anonymously ask the teacher questions about something. So often, a student is afraid to ask a question because he gets embarrassed. If no one knows who is asking, the questions will pour out.
3. Project collaboration- Assign each group a different chat room, monitor the student devices to see who the different users are, keep a log. You could even have students punch in their ID numbers as their identifiers. Students can contribute their ideas to the group and do so without feeling intimidated. If you notice user 1 has said nothing and logged that as Johnny, he gets a 0.
4. Global chats- Setup a collaboration with a school in another country or another state and have a Q/A session with them. It can lead to a more detailed meeting later on skype or via epals.
These are just a few things I can think of to do with SimpleMeet. I am certain there are many more out there.