Imagine the glass building stretching to the sky, not unlike the elevator Sophie rides to enter the North Pole after receiving an invitation from her Auntie Claus.Yes, Auntie Claus offers Sophie a silver key, and with a turn, an elevator thrusts Sophie towards the North Pole. Auntie Claus is a must read as the holidays roll around. It’s barely November and I can’t help thinking of some of my beloved holiday stories.
In any case, that glass skyscraper houses hundreds of glass offices where meeting simultaneously occur. In order to attend any meeting, a contender needs an invitation. This invitation allows discussion, participation, collaboration, communication, and problem solving amongst all attendees. This skyscraper is the image conjured when I considered the simple technological tool Chatzy . This giant glass structure symbolizes the vast amount of information being passed through different rooms, but in truth, Chatzy connects individuals through an invisible web of electronic impulses and attendee never need to leave the comforts of their homes or local wifi.
This weekend, I explored new grounds on social networking though Chatzy, a free, simple technological tool that allows several participants to participate, chat, discuss, and collaborate. As I opened the site, unclear of the progression of activity, I clicked around and for several minutes wondered, “What in the world do I do?” I tested out the practice tutorial provided by Chatty, but was not unimpressed, but confused by the visuals and desperately wanted more purpose for the tool.
I decided on googling the question in hopes of more user friendly advice. A role-playing session available on YouTube gave me a clearer idea of the specific use of this tool. In this chat room, friends decided what their to bring to Thanksgiving supper. Slow-moving, but detailed, ideas formed and I decided to open a room and invite a couple of friends to test out the waters.
As Halloween was just the evening before, I invited my guests to the room. Within seconds, I waited for my first guest. Noticing the specifics of the password, this took a couple minutes. Just about 6 minutes later, we talked about the chili and birthday cake, but without warning we also discussed the advantage to this type of chat option in a classroom. I found that the simplistic design charms the user into tending to the text and deeper discussions. In addition the expression codes help to designate emotion. We, additionally discussed the opportunity for all students to participate versus the brave, courageous, and verbal students.
By the end of our discussion, I recognized at least three advantages to using a chat room like this. 1. Students read and write with purpose to express themselves. 2. All students’ opportunity to speak equalizes through the medium. 3. Discussions flourish with collaboration on focused topics.
I proceeded to check reviews on this product that operates for free, but offers more bells and whistles with fees. Education World’s Jason Tomaszewski, explains that Chatty’s “no-frills” platform offers an old-school charm and that simple platform engages students in deeper discussions and maintains students’ attention.
Similarly, Teachers First explains that Chatzy’s offers “no-frills” and easy to use private chat rooms. This allows students to expand to more global experiences, such as connecting, “with other classes to learn about other locations, learn various perspectives, find animals that are similar yet different, learn about the different books others are reading, or survey students on various economic, political, or environmental topics.” Similar to using Padlet, or a shared Google Doc, Chatty could be used as “a backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentations,” where teachers “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.”
Chatzy’s potential seems endless. Perhaps, parent involvement may enhance by assigning parent volunteers to specifically lead students through the discussing books in this forum, having a parent question session scheduled to explain specific math algorithms, or opening a room for parent and teachers to plan an upcoming school event!
As the elevator ride drove Sophie into an adventure she never imagined, the availability of chat rooms to students potentially opens an opportunity unforeseen global collaboration, discussions, and experiences. Chatzy.com simplicity hands the user the adventure as easily as a turn of one silver key. Enjoy!
PS – Along the way, this holiday find some time to check out Auntie Claus at your local library!