REALLY! It is so, so, so necessary to teach our kids how to have conversations academically and socially using the computer. I’m not saying it won’t be frustrating, because it will be extremely frustrating because kids will write just like they do on Facebook until you teach them that this is different (and that maybe they should step up their Facebook game a bit as well.)
The two BEST ways I have found to use chat in the class is by doing this…
- Google Classroom Questions
This looks just like a NORMAL question you would ask your students to answer until you give them the capability to respond to each other’s posts and edit their own. In my class I have students answer the question and then click REPLY to at least 3 other people. Here is an example below..
The best part is that I can chat with them too (see me up there!) Another student asked the original author: Did they try to escape? Now, I’m not an English teacher so I’m not grading for spelling or grammar or anything, but I had to have a talking to with my students about capitalizing and punctuation because that is just out of control. But, they can ask each other questions, and really get into a debate on tough topics.
I teach my students when replying to either:
- Ask a question.
- State whether you agree or disagree and why.
- 3. Clarify something they said.
Now, in the beginning I got a lot of yeah, cool, lol, xD. But now, I am beginning to get real questions, responses, and conversation (with some added internet fun.)
2. Google Docs/Slides/Draw Chat Feature
When students have shared a document, slide, or draw with one another they then are able to use the Google Chat feature available next to the share button.
Students could use comments to chat, but it would be much faster and easier to have students work together by clicking the chat feature and opening up the chat. Students can work together without talking in class, or be chatting with a student who is on home study or at home sick on their assignment real time LIVE!
Don’t be AFRAID of letting kiddos chat in the classroom, make them SHARE that document with you and you can be in on their chat as well. Giving them advice, making sure nothing inappropriate is said, and checking in on how they are working as a group. Kids gotta chat to collaborate, these are just some easy ways to let them talk without having a noisy crazy classroom.