Link to Classroom 2.0 Social Network Discussions


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Overview


Instant Messaging (IM) is a tool for connecting students/teachers in real time. IM uses any of a variety of freely available clients and servers from MSN Messenger, to AOL Instant Messenger, to Yahoo, to Skype. See the Wikipedia for a comprehensive discussion of the tool.

Uses of Instant Messaging (IM) in Education


IM is an excellent tool for providing ad hoc conferencing. Student-to-student, student-to-teacher, and teacher-to-teacher collaboration is a powerful tool. This is less useful in classroom settings, especially where schools typically block access to the servers, and student time and attention is focused very rigidly. For distance applications, IM is invaluable.

What Instant Messaging (IM) Does for Students


IM fosters social presence and immediacy. This is particularly important in an online class where the students often report feeling isolated because the primary learner management systems (Blackboard, WebCT, etc) are created to keep students isolated. IM provides a channel outside of the shell to help them feel less isolated.

IM provides a channel for the student to get assistance and support in real time, especially from other students. Example: Student working on a homework assignment IM's a buddy to discuss approaches, solutions, etc regarding a particularly knotty homework assignment.

Restrictions and Warnings:
- All participants need to be online at the same time, regardless of timezone
- All participants need to be using the same service (MSN doesn't talk to Yahoo, Yahoo doesn't talk to AIM, etc)


Lesson Plans & Ideas


Click here to add or link to lesson plans or ideas for the use of this technology in the classroom.

Active Discussion Page


Please click here for a discussion page on this technology.

Specific Program Links


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Note: While the cross platform clients don't always have all the same features as the original, and you still cannot use MSN to talk to Yahoo, they provide the facility to log into a multitude of services using a single interface rather than running the specific client (MSN, YIM, AIM, etc) for each of them.


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