Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Simple Ways to Leverage "The Chat" in Zoom and or Google Meet


Back in the early days of the internet, and before the days of Twitter and Facebook, chat rooms were extremely popular for people to connect on the "Net" and to share ideas. As the internet has become more embedded into the classroom, the idea of a chat room developed a negative connotation as kids, more often than not, used it to discuss not academic topics. It was seen as a distraction.

These days, in a distance learning environment, "The Chat" has become an important part of the way we teach. "The Chat", whether you're using Google Meet, Zoom or another video conferencing tool, can be used in a variety of ways to break up the monotony of a lesson. As a frequent professional development presenter, I have used "The Chat" countless times in a session. It helps me gauge the needs of attendees on the fly and allows me to pivot as needed. A common expression amongst us in the presenter community is "drop it in the chat". This phrase is used to for mid-session CFU, sharing of presentation slides and more. 

Here are some of my favorite ways to leverage "The Chat" with students and adults alike.


Coming soon to Google Meet, and already a feature in Zoom, you can take attendance. A report can be generated showing all attendees. If you don't want to wait to generate the report after the video call, "The Chat" can help you do this. During a synchronous lesson on Zoom or Google Meet, I always build 5-7 minute blocks of time for students to work independently before reconvening whole class. Before independent work, I usually have them write questions or some sort of short reflection in "The Chat". While they work independently, I go through the chat and record students who are present for attendance purposes.

Exit Ticket
Before your synchronous video call lesson is over, have students reflect on what they learned, make a prediction about what's next or ask a question as an exit ticket. Have them write their exit ticket as a hashtag with rationale showing some real-life to content connections. You could make it into a contest where the top 5 or top 10 hashtags will get featured on the class website or in the next meeting. You are able with Zoom, Meet soon, to save a text transcript of "The Chat".
Microphone Issues
Often times, we will face issues with student microphones not working well or at all. Students who are not able to verbally respond, could use "The Chat". I frequently encounter this issue. Instruct students to not be afraid to message you in "The Chat" about such issues. If your lesson requires students to present, have them type what they would have said aloud in "The Chat".

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Check In
With Zoom, not Google Meet, you have the ability for attendees to direct message the teacher in "The Chat" without the group as whole being able to see the message. Utilize this feature to have students privately check in on social emotional issues.

These are just some of the ways I like to use "The Chat". What are some of yours? I am curious to hear your innovative ideas for leveraging the "The Chat". Please share your ideas in the comments or, if you're reading this post in an email, respond to the email.

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