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PolitiFact: Sorting out the truth in politics - St. Petersburg Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate ...more
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate statements made by politicians, using their "Truth-o-Meter." Although the interface is light-hearted (using a scale that runs from True, Barely True, False, and "Pants on Fire"), the facts are well researched and presented.

tag(s): advertising (33), elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

This site is a great resource for students researching politicians and their viewpoints. If you're sponsoring a class debate, keep the site handy for each side to check the assertions of their opponents. When students have questions about the content of political advertising, for example, refer them here to find out more. As an assignment, consider having the class pick a political ad, and using the information on this site, write about how the creator of the ad selected the facts that would best portray the viewpoint of the candidate. They could share their critique on a class wiki or on a classroom bulletin board. Have groups create a "mythbuster" political poster on ThingLink, reviewed here.

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- Lessonopoly: Science of NFL Football - NBC Learn and National Science Foundation

Grades
5 to 10
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Find great videos featuring the best football players and trainers in the NFL to learn science through the lens of football. THis content was moved from its original home on ...more
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Find great videos featuring the best football players and trainers in the NFL to learn science through the lens of football. THis content was moved from its original home on Lessonopoly to hosting on Gooru. Open the folder to view lesson materials and videos. Choose various science topics such as "Vectors," "Nutrition, Hydration, and Health," and "Projectile Motion and Parabolas" to name a few. View a short video of the concept and click the links to other resources that can be used to learn more about that particular topic. Choose to view and print the lesson plans using a printer friendly option or download as a pdf. Find practice worksheets, teacher keys, quizzes, and other activities. Note that NBC Learn's own video site is usually a fee-based, but this particular collection, hosted on Gooru, is free.

tag(s): sports (96), vectors (25)

In the Classroom

Bring science to life with these great resources. Use the video to pique student interest in the topic and use the lesson plans to really understand the concept to apply to other areas. Use the vectors to understand how science and quarterback throws are related. Follow the lesson plan using the video and the activities. Follow up with actual football throws in the school yard. Measure distances and angles to create data to analyze as groups or a class. Consider creating your own video or slidecast of explanations using students as the stars of the show explaining the concept. Invite Math classes to use your data for their understanding of Vectors as well. Brainstorm other sports where this science concept is also used.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The 50 Worst Inventions - Time Magazine

Grades
4 to 12
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We all know inventions that have changed and improved the world, but what are some of the worst ideas that just never worked out? Time Magazine offers their insight into ...more
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We all know inventions that have changed and improved the world, but what are some of the worst ideas that just never worked out? Time Magazine offers their insight into the 50 worst inventions. This slideshow takes the viewer through some ideas that never got off the ground or never found their way into America's heart - popup ads, Snuggie for dogs, pay toilets, NEW Coke, and more all hold a spot on the top 50. The slideshow can be viewed screen by screen, or the viewer can see the entire list.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create a list of useless inventions or to invent one of their own. Display the slide show on your interactive whiteboard or projector and discuss if students agree with a product's placement on the list. Generate a list of characteristics that would keep an invention OFF this list! Have students create commercials advertising their new product (or the one they researched). Challenge students to create a video commercial and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Write letters to the product's inventor to find out their feelings about being included on the list.

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Ayiti: The Cost of Life - Global Kids and Gamelab

Grades
5 to 12
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In this role playing activity, students must help the Guinard Family from Haiti receive an education and live a happy life. The activity takes place over four years and is ...more
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In this role playing activity, students must help the Guinard Family from Haiti receive an education and live a happy life. The activity takes place over four years and is divided into sixteen seasons. Students must assign roles to the family at the beginning of each season. As students complete the activity they must keep track of each family members statistics. Each member has statistics in the areas of Wellness, General health, Happiness, Emotional well-being, and Education. To win your family must survive for four years and the healthier and more educated your family is, the better you do in this activity.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115)

In the Classroom

Take your students on a virtual trip to Haiti by sharing this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. The site would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Have them record information in current event journals. At the end of the game have students prepare a short presentation using PowerPoint or an online tool like 280 Slides reviewed here to share with the class on how their family did.
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Our Endangered Planet - Newsweek

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5 to 12
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Subtitled "100 Places to See before They Disappear," this page links readers to information about eroding spots all over the world. Clicking on different continents at the top of this...more
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Subtitled "100 Places to See before They Disappear," this page links readers to information about eroding spots all over the world. Clicking on different continents at the top of this page leads to a featured Newsweek article about an endangered geographical location on that continent which may or may not contain information about endangered species as well. Besides information on the cause of danger and a description of the current state of the location, the article contains hints at how the site could be saved. Users wishing to make comments on the articles can create a log in before being able to express their opinions. Causes of the endangerments include climactic change, misuse of resources, geographic switches, and the fragility of man's creations within the area. The site contains articles on 100 challenged locations and edifices.

tag(s): conservation (127), erosion (17)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introduction to a specific continent when studying world geography. Suggest it to students as a research beginner when they are doing projects on conservation and the green movement.

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IndebtEd: We're Broke Let's Fix It - MTV Networks On Campus Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has been created to help students become more aware of personal and governmental debt. Through interactives, videos, and articles this site will bring a greater understanding...more
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This site has been created to help students become more aware of personal and governmental debt. Through interactives, videos, and articles this site will bring a greater understanding of how debt effects individuals and the country. Videos by current stars will make this site an interesting one for students.

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

Though this site is geared toward college students, it would be a great addition to any economics, math, or social studies class. Use the national debt clock to see how quickly we are accumulating debt and how much every individual is responsible for. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector and share the informational videos for the class to see. Have students journal a response to the videos. In groups have students read the government and people section and using a web 2.0 tool like Voki reviewed here have students choose a presidential figure to tell how they will solve the nation's debt problem. Place the link to the site on your class webpage so students can take the debt quiz or play the debt ski activity.
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Learn About Congress - Indiana University

Grades
6 to 12
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The Indiana University Center on Congress has prepared a series of learning modules to teach students about the role, history, and responsibilities of the US Congress. Access each of...more
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The Indiana University Center on Congress has prepared a series of learning modules to teach students about the role, history, and responsibilities of the US Congress. Access each of the modules separately, or consider the summary module that incorporates the other, more in-depth modules. Each module functions as a popup, so be sure you have your popup blocker turner off.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33)

In the Classroom

Use these mini lessons on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to the roles and responsibility of Congress in a history, civics, government or current events class. This could also be part of in-depth looks at all three branches of government. As an alternative, students can work independently or in small groups on these modules, and then report back to the class as a whole on what they've learned. Have groups create podcasts about Congress using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
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Historypin - We Are What We Do

Grades
4 to 12
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This is a site created in partnership with Google as a project to help generations share and talk more through social networking. The concept is that young people ask older ...more
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This is a site created in partnership with Google as a project to help generations share and talk more through social networking. The concept is that young people ask older people to share their photos; these photos are then uploaded through Google maps to show the world as it once was. The older pictures can be compared to today's images through Google street view. In addition to uploading photos, stories can also be shared about the time period and the pictures. Historypin is still in Beta stage; however, there are plans for events throughout the world to launch the site in the near future.

tag(s): cultures (105), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Use as an enhancement to research projects of family, historic events, and world cultures by finding and uploading pictures to the map. Use Historypin as a resource to compare and contrast different time periods in the same geographic area. Demonstrate on the interactive whiteboard or projector how different places have changed over time. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create podcasts using PodOmatic (reviewed here) to go along with the maps. ESL students will appreciate the ability to upload pictures and/or learn about their country of original.
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Climate Change - American Museum of Natural History

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4 to 12
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Looking for good condensed information about climate change. Use this resource to find some great information. Click on "Introduction" to view information about climate change indicators...more
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Looking for good condensed information about climate change. Use this resource to find some great information. Click on "Introduction" to view information about climate change indicators and facts from the past to the present. View changes that are occurring throughout the globe. Although this site is very "wordy," there is lots to explore! Click on the underlined vocabulary words to learn more about the definition and where to find more information about the topic.

tag(s): carbon (21), carbon dioxide (17), climate (92), climate change (64)

In the Classroom

Use this resource for some excellent background information. Search for more information on the Internet to determine facts and how these facts are used. Create Public Service Announcements outlining the key points. Create a campaign for making small changes in our lives that can add up to a big difference. Have students create multimedia presentations such as an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Research alternative energy sources and create proposals for change within your district.
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Youth Leadership Initiative - Center for Politics - University of Virginia

Grades
3 to 12
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This site is a civic education program that encourages students to be involved in the electoral and policy making process of the US government. Through interactive multimedia, the site...more
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This site is a civic education program that encourages students to be involved in the electoral and policy making process of the US government. Through interactive multimedia, the site offers technology-based civic education resources that foster long-term civic engagement. There are parts of this site that are available to non-members, while other features are "member only." Membership requires name of school, email, and address. Teachers and curriculum leaders can sign up for a free account, and approval takes 2 - 3 days. Once approved, you will have access to several multimedia rich content areas.

tag(s): congress (33), elections (75), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Use the site with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work in cooperative groups and take part in the mock congress. They will develop critical thinking and collaboration skills as they research, draft, and pass original legislation. Use the downloadable campaign simulation software (free), and have your students role play and run a senatorial campaign.
br> If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
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Archive It - Internet Archive

Grades
6 to 12
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This site keeps copies of web pages after they are no longer "live." Institutions and other large concerns can group their websites they want to keep together. Outsiders can search...more
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This site keeps copies of web pages after they are no longer "live." Institutions and other large concerns can group their websites they want to keep together. Outsiders can search for websites by viewing what others have saved in certain categories like "Public Collections," "Arts & Humanities," and "Science & Health," among many. A specific section of K-12 sites might be useful for teachers at these levels. But for larger research projects, there are lists that colleges and universities have saved as well.

In the Classroom

Use this site to compare info from older websites with the ones today. Ask your students to visit the site and create a multimedia presentation from the information they learn there. Have students compare an "inactive" site and a newer site (on the same topic) and then highlight the differences using the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Alternatively, elicit ideas from your class about how websites have changed and then have the students take a look to see more differences. More advanced social studies classes can compare the historical perspective on events as recent as five years ago to see how points of view and presentation of information change over time.
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Teachable Moment - Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Grades
K to 12
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Teachable Moments provides lesson ideas and plans for "just in time" events happening around the world. All of the activities foster a positive classroom environment and focus on critical...more
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Teachable Moments provides lesson ideas and plans for "just in time" events happening around the world. All of the activities foster a positive classroom environment and focus on critical thinking. Lessons can be found for elementary, middle, and high school students. Lessons contain some combination of text, links, video, and audio. Some lesson plans available at the time of this review included Islam and Islamaphobia, Just How Broken is the Senate, and many others. All lessons are presented in a "standard" lesson plan format and provides the time needed for each portion of the lesson. The offerings can also help misinformed or alarmed students to better understand events in a context appropriate for their age, unlike the screaming headlines they may hear on the television or elsewhere on the web.

In the Classroom

This site will fit perfectly into any social studies, history, or current events class. Use the lessons to discuss important events that are happening right now. Several of the lessons have links to video so use them with an interactive whiteboard or projector. In addition to lessons on current events, use the essays and ideas on teaching strategies to improve your teaching skills. Teachers of gifted will appreciate this site to help their students who are often well beyond their years in their concern over news events.
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BBC News - Animated guide: Volcanoes - BBC News

Grades
6 to 9
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This is an excellent tutorial or interactive on volcanoes. Great for helping students understand the basic mechanics of a volcano and the interior of the Earth. The interactive is informative...more
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This is an excellent tutorial or interactive on volcanoes. Great for helping students understand the basic mechanics of a volcano and the interior of the Earth. The interactive is informative but extremely straight forward.

tag(s): disasters (39), natural disasters (20), volcanoes (61)

In the Classroom

This interactive could easily be used as the bulk of a lesson in earth science on volcanoes. The site covers the basics without text overkill. This would be great for middle level learners. It could also be used as part of a good online unit on natural disasters such as volcanoes, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Use this as a part of a webquest or web hunt in natural disaster units.
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TeachersFirst's Oil Spill Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about oil spills and the short and long term impact on the environment caused...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about oil spills and the short and long term impact on the environment caused by these environmental disasters. As students read and see images of animals, be aware that younger students may have more questions than they can explain.

tag(s): disasters (39), environment (317), oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Use these resources together with your class to help students find ways they can contribute to a greater good after such a devastating event spreads across the news. Extend the opportunity to teach about persuasive writing (letters to legislators or the editor), careers in environmental science, and more.

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TeachersFirst's September 11 Resources - TeachersFirst

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2 to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help students understand the events of September 11, 2001, and to plan lessons or discussions so students can...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help students understand the events of September 11, 2001, and to plan lessons or discussions so students can see the events of September 11 in connection with history, current events, and the challenges and balances of national security. Whether you stop to observe September 11 separately from your regular curriculum or include it through curricular connections to writing and social studies topics, these resources can help today's students imagine the events of a day before their memory but ever present in the American consciousness.

tag(s): terrorism (49)

In the Classroom

Include one or more of these sites as your observe September 11 in your classroom or make the link available on your class web site for students who ask about the events of this pivotal day. You will find many specific project or class activity ideas within the reviews themselves.

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PWSRCAC - PWSRCAC

Grades
K to 12
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Prince William Sound Regional Citizen's Advisory Council provides a free curriculum that is geared toward teaching about oil and oil spills. While this curriculum is about Alaska's...more
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Prince William Sound Regional Citizen's Advisory Council provides a free curriculum that is geared toward teaching about oil and oil spills. While this curriculum is about Alaska's Exxon Valdez oil spill, the information would be very helpful in teaching about other oil spills in recent news. It would be a great place to help develop lessons where students compare and contrast two spills, their magnitude and their effects on the environment.

tag(s): environment (317), oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Use the whole curriculum in environmental science classes or pick and choose pieces that you want to incorporate into your curriculum. Have students research and understand about oil spills in general using this tool, and then have students expand by comparing and contrasting the Exxon spill to the BP spill in 2010. Have students create Venn Diagrams using a tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare these two spills or other oil spills.

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Mashpedia - Mashpedia

Grades
6 to 12
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Use Mashpedia to search a vast array of different sources on your topic in one search. Enter your search phrase. View a wikipedia entry and links to related videos arranged ...more
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Use Mashpedia to search a vast array of different sources on your topic in one search. Enter your search phrase. View a wikipedia entry and links to related videos arranged as little video screens. Hover over the video to view the title. Scroll down the page to find other information on your topic such as: twitter posts, news, blog posts, information from websites, books, facebook comments, and images. View trending topics of the day or topics that are currently in the news.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find a wealth of information quickly and easily. Use trending topic for current events. View how the posts and website information changes daily for the trending topics. Be sure to instruct students how to correctly attribute and cite the actual source of the information being used.
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Inventors and Their Inventions - Time Magazine

Grades
4 to 12
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Time Magazine presents 9 current inventors and their inventions. These little known inventors have created items that are familiar to many of us today - items include the sticky note...more
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Time Magazine presents 9 current inventors and their inventions. These little known inventors have created items that are familiar to many of us today - items include the sticky note (Post-It), a pizza box with perforated sections for plates, and a huggable pacifier. This slideshow is easy to use. Just click on the next button after each slide to find the next inventor.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

After presenting the slideshow on your interactive whiteboard or projector, ask students to create their own list of modern inventions that are in general use. Students can then research their inventors and how the invention came about. Have a "Create an Invention" Day where students design and build their own invention that would make their lives easier. Have students share their inventions and how they work on video. Share the videos using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Another possibility is to include this slideshow in your study of the Industrial Revolution. Share TeachersFirst's interactive introduction to Inventors of the Industrial Revolution, and ask students to compare the circumstances around successful inventions today vs then.

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Climate Challenge - BBC

Grades
6 to 12
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In this interactive students pretend that they are the president of a European nation. The object of the "game" is to take on climate change and stay popular with voters ...more
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In this interactive students pretend that they are the president of a European nation. The object of the "game" is to take on climate change and stay popular with voters so they can stay in office. Students have to make decisions on what issues they will support and the local newspaper will let them know how the people are feeling. Students can even buy ads in the local paper to support their cause.

tag(s): climate (92), climate change (64)

In the Classroom

This is a great site to help students better understand what is happening with climate change. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. This site is a good way to bring in the topic of climate change and how it is effecting the entire globe. This is also a great way to discuss the topic of political popularity. When students have finished the simulation, have them choose a topic to do more research on. Have them each write a news article and create a class newspaper on climate change. Teachers be sure to check out the Science Behind Climate Change. It provides information and additional links about climate change.
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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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