TheEmpoweredTeacher

Whether you want to admit it, or not, there are two societies thriving in your classroom, one is in plain view which you take credit for leading fearlessly, and keeping under control and then something very human begins to happen right behind your back. Whether we like it or not, an “underground” society emerges which you as the teacher are not privy to, a secret society inaccessible to you because of the role you play: “The Teacher”.  Regardless of how cool you may think you are as a teacher, and how much you think your students admire and respect you, students do talk behind your back. We only imagine it’s all good, but we often ignore our gut feelings and forget we can’t possibly expect every student in the class to worship us.  We can try to achieve that status, and we can try to reach them by serving as role models and ambassadors from the adult world. We should never as teachers compromise our educational values, or lower our teaching standards to gain popularity with our students. We do have a responsibility to stay current and keep abreast of what’s happening in their teen culture.  In the past decade or so, technology has modernized our classrooms to help us meet the needs of all types of learners and once for all bid good riddance to the antiquated methods which made learning torpid, tedious and teacher-centered, and served to isolate us even further from our 21st century students.


Todaysmeet.com is a service allowing us as teachers to enter the teen psyche and surreptitiously discover what they are talking about “behind our back” during a lecture, a discussion, a guest speaker, a viewing of a film, and so many other school activities requiring them to be a passive audience member.  Todaysmeet.com EMPOWERS you as the teacher because students are held accountable for listening; they are no longer spectators, but participants in an interactive audience requiring them to hold their own by providing comments, questions, speculations, arguments, answers, solutions, evidence, opinions, explanations, reflection, analysis, application…the list of possibilities is endless and dependent on the criteria YOU set for the * “backchannel” conversations students undeniably have behind our backs.  Obviously we cannot control the conversations students have outside of our classrooms, but Todaysmeet.com EMPOWERS us to control the conversations students are having “behind our backs” inside our classrooms.  
* Backchannel is a term used by James Socol, creator of Todaysmeet.com. Socol says “backchannel” is “everything going on in the room that isn’t coming from the presenter… where people ask each other questions, pass notes, get distracted, and give you the most immediate feedback you’ll ever get.” 
The temptation for students to pass notes, and have sidebar conversations is virtually eliminated with Todaysmeet.com. 


Todaysmeet.com EMPOWERS you as the teacher to know exactly what students are thinking, and therefore instantly obtain feedback about a student’s depth and breadth of understanding during any type of presentation.
How does Todaysmeet.com work
Step One
Prior to any type of presentation, demonstration or listening activity, visit Todaysmeet.com to create and name a room where your students will be talking to each other while they hear the presentation.  
Empowering Potential: You can choose to have students talk to other students who are in the same classroom at the same time; or you can collaborate with another teacher to have two or more classrooms engage in a conversation by listening to the same content at the same time. Every student will need to have his/her own computer. If computers are available for every student in a school building to use all at the same time, an entire school can view a presentation and engage in conversation on Todaysmeet.com integrating subjects, grade and achievement levels, and encouraging cooperation and communication among all students and teachers.
Step 2
Decide when you would like Todaysmeet.com to delete the room, i.e., in 2 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, one day, one week, one month, or one year. The type of presentation students will be listening to will determine the longevity of the meeting room.  If you plan on having an on-going discussion, you may want to extend the time so you can return to the same room where the feed of previous posts will appear and serve as a recap of a prior conversation.
Step 3
Once you have created and named your “talking room”, provide your students with the URL of the room.  For example: 
Create a room
Name a room: Lab demonstration # 1
Delete a room: in 2 hours 
Click on Create a room.  
Note: If the name you chose for your room is already taken, a red X will appear next to the URL under the heading of Name a room.
Once you click on Create a room, the next window to appear will be a split page with two sides; “Listen” on the left and “Talk” on the right as well as a window for students to type their names.
Empowering Potential: It is important to set specific norms regarding the names students will use. When working with middle school students who may hesitate to share their true thoughts and feelings for fear of how their peers may perceive their posts, a teacher can EMPOWER her students by asking them to generate a pen name, which only she will know. An EMPOWERED teacher will keep a log of the student names along with the secret pen names. This will ensure confidentiality and afford students the piece of mind they will not be criticized for their posts.
At this point, the teacher will have a URL to provide her students once they enter the classroom and before a presentation.  The teacher can write the URL for all students to see and enter once they each have their own computer. Upon typing and entering the unique URL of the teacher created “talking room”, students will see the split page of Listen and Talk and will need to enter a name and click join to begin adding their posts.
How can Todaysmeet.com EMPOWER you and your students
Students can use Todaysmeet.com to engage in conversation after listening and viewing a myriad of activities, such as a lab demonstration, a lecture on any subject, a guest speaker, a film, an audio recording, a student presentation, a play, a written exercise practice while learning how to write a second language, a debate, and so much more.
Empowering Potential: You can even have a silent Socratic discussion after reading a specific text; instead of discussing the text out loud, both you and your students can post questions and responses on Todaysmeet.com rather than having an oral discussion.  This may enable the more reticent and timid students to gain confidence in their role in the class since they can use their pen name to posts their thoughts and keep their posts anonymous. 
How will you use Todaysmeet.com in your Empowered Class? Share your ideas
Empowering Potential:
Teachers can use a Todaysmeet.com as an assessment tool in a variety of ways. Student posts offer teachers instant feedback showing a student’s understanding of concepts being discussed. Student posts can provide teachers with an instant assessment or even a summative assessment of concepts taught. The possibilities to use Todaysmeet.com as an assessment tool are endless. An Empowered Teacher needs to determine the content of what students will hear and/or see and identify how this content will help students meet the specific learning goals the teacher would like to students to reach.  


Teachers can even use posts on Todaysmeet.com to teach students Self-Assessment. Teachers can use both teacher and student models as examples of quality posts. Teachers can allow students to experiment with the technology first so they can feel comfortable writing posts and then lead them in a discussion about posting etiquette and what makes for an acceptable and unacceptable post. Providing a rubric indicating the frequency and quality of the posts, and posting etiquette is a must! Before using Todaysmeet.com it is essential to explain norms for acceptable posts and provide specific examples of unacceptable posts.  You may want to ask students to give you examples of what would be considered acceptable and unacceptable posts. 


The Todaysmeet.com discussion can be used as a springboard to study and explore other topics, which will naturally come up in the conversations.


Allow and accept the natural digressions, which may surface away from the topic at hand since it is not unusual for people to get off topic if for a moment during discussions. 


Assist students in evaluating and interpreting their posts and those of others; Teachers  can print the posts(feed) and have a follow-up conversation out loud about the thoughts posted. Questions teachers can ask are endless such as, what were the patterns? What comments stood out? Who had the most insightful remark and why? The wittiest? The strangest? Evaluate the off-topic comments as well and discuss what effect they had on the conversation. 


Always consider their strengths and weaknesses of your students and their varying degrees of ability regarding critical thinking, spelling, typing speed, etc.  prior to the Todaysmeet.com session and after.  An Empowered Teacher takes the time to self-reflect on what the advantages and disadvantages for the different ability groups?  What modifications can be made next time you use Todaysmeet.com? What worked well and what needs tweaking? What did students appear to be confused about? What may have caused the confusion?  


Bring your students’ hidden questions and thoughts to the surface of your classroom to promote conversation, critical thinking, and most importantly to determine the homogeneity and/or heterogeneity of your students’ thoughts.  Todaysmeet.com lets you enter your students’ mind. Empower yourself in your classroom by guiding what your students are saying “behind your back”. 
  1. Today's Best
  2. Top Shows
  3. Best of BTR
    1. Loading

      Author Joey Kirkman

      Joey Kirkman, co-author of "Bedtime Bible Stories," joins the show to talk about the darker tales of scripture and his recent book.

    2. Teron Briggs of Boxing.com

      This week D. Wils. explores the emerging issue in the world of sports and he's joined by boxing analyst and longtime RSG guest Teron Briggs of Boxing.com to talk about the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana II in Vegas Satruday!

    3. New York Philharmonic Anthony McGill

      Joy Keys chats with African American Clarinetist Anthony McGill who just got named Principal Clarinet for the NY Philharmonic.

    4. Victoria Jackson

      Comedian and actress Victoria Jackson recently confronted political activist Grover Norquist regarding his rumored ties to Islamic groups around the world. Mr. Norquist was caught off guard in this interview, and what he had to say may shock many in the GOP.

    5. Middleweight Boxing Champ Danny Jacobs

      In this special episode we interview WBA Middleweight Boxing Champion Danny Jacobs. Danny Jacobs is from Brownsville in Brooklyn, NY and we go over his life and boxing career. We also cover other boxing news and chat about the upcoming Mayweather fight.

    6. Erica Meier Animal RIghts Activist

      Erica Meier, Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing, discusses why a vegan diet is an act of compassion. She has taken the organization to new heights and has been honored with the prestigious Animal Rights Hall of Fame Award.

    7. Author Michael “Mick-man” Gourdine

      Host Deidra Hughey invites author Michael Gourdine on for a gritty discussion of his two autobiographical books, Chill Pimping in Atlantic City and Black Church: Sex, Drugs, and The Holy Ghost.

    8. True Blood's Gregg T Daniel

      Gregg T. Daniel from the final season of HBO’s True Blood as the wise and sympathetic Reverend Daniels, marking his character’s fourth season on the Emmy winning series.

    9. Soul To Soul

      As a composer, Ms. Lundy’s catalogue numbers over 100 published songs, one of the few jazz vocalists in history to accomplish such a distinction, and has led to the first publication of the Carmen Lundy Songbook (2007).

    10. LinkedIn Career influencer JT O'Donnell

      Career Strategist and LinkedIn top Career influencer JT O'Donnell joins me to discuss, career storms and what GOS you can use how to navigate them.

    11. Startup Success in 24 Steps

      Bill Aulet assembled the practical and yet rigorous information to pull together what entrepreneurs needs in a startup world. Tune into learn how to launch a new venture as a startup and succeed.

    12. Magician Krystyn Lambert

      Empowered Living Radio host Tori Eldridge chats with Krystyn Lambert, internationally recognized female magician, about the empowering perspective and actions necessary to take ownership of our lives.

    13. New York City Ballerina Jenifer Ringer

      Join host Erika Nicole Finn for an intriguing conversation with New York City Ballerina Jenifer Ringer, author of the book Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet.

    14. Maintaining A Healthy Community

      Listen to The African History Network Show Thurs. June 26th, 8pm-11pm EST with guest Pastor, Dr. Ray Hagins, Researcher, Lecturer, Chief Elder and Spiritual Leader of The Afrikan Village.

    15. Dionne Audian

      Years from now, when critics look back on Dionne Audain’s career, they’re likely to dub her one of the greatest character actors of her generation.

    1. Loading

      Rodney Perry Live

      On his show, Comedian Rodney Perry covers arts and entertainment, everything from comedy and politics to music and acting, with his signature comedic slant.

    2. Saturday Mornings With Joy Keys

      Joy Keys provides her listeners with insight to improve their lives mentally, physically, monetarily and emotionally. Past guests on the show have included Meshell Nedegeocello, Blair Underwood, in addition to an impressive list of CEOs, humanitarians and authors.

    3. Small Business Unstuck

      Host Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years. This is a business radio show where he shares all the craziness of small business. It’s that craziness that actually makes it exciting, interesting and totally unpredictable.

    4. The Bottom Line Sports Show

      The Bottom Line Sports Show is hosted by former NBA stars Penny Hardaway, Charles Oakley, Mateen Cleaves. Tune in to get the inside scoop on what's happening in sports today.

    5. Hits Radio

      Hits Radio covers basketball, sports culture and entertainment with past guests including Jason Kidd, Robin Lundberg and Chris Herren.

    6. The Halli Casser-Jayne Show

      Listeners get an earful on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds. Whether it’s the current political cocktail or the latest must-read award-winning book, Halli tackles all topics and likes to stir — and sometimes shakes — things up.

    7. America's Most Haunted

      Official Internet radio show of forthcoming epic paranormal investigation book by Eric Olsen and "Haunted Housewife" Theresa Argie.

    8. World Footprints

      Award-winning World Footprints is a leading voice in socially responsible travel and lifestyle. Hosts Ian & Tonya celebrate culture and heritage and bring a unique voice to the world of travel.

    9. Football Reporters Online

      Football Reporters Online is a group of veteran football experts in the fields of coaching, scouting, talent evaluation, and writing/broadcasting/media placement. Combined, the group brings well over 100 years of expertise in sports.

    10. Small Business Roundtable

      Host John Martin interviews the nation's leading entrepreneurs and small biz experts to educate small business owners on how to be successful. Past guests have included Emeril Lagasse and Guy Kawasaki.

    11. Sylvia Global

      Sylvia Global presents global conversations pertaining to women, wealth, business, faith and philanthropy. Sylvia has interviewed an eclectic mix from CEOs and musicians to fashion designers and philanthropists including Randolph Duke and Ne-Yo.