Online Chats – UMaine

November 17th, 2011

Online chats are person-to-person (or groups of people) synchronous communications that take place over the internet. These conversations may be conducted with text, audio, or video and there are many software and web-based tools for this. Some terms used to refer to this chats include computer-mediated communication (CMC), internet relay chat (IRC), or instant messaging (IM). When a microphone and/or camera is used, these chats may be referred to as audio or video conferencing.  Typically a participant in a chat is identified by a screen name, and the entries in the dialogue are date and time stamped. Many chat tools allow transcripts of text chats to be archived and audio and video chats to be recorded. Multiple user chats are often used as backchannels in meetings, conferences, and classrooms to allow participants to comment on the proceedings in real time.


  1. ErynS
    November 18th, 2011 at 11:28 | #1

    At our school we are starting to google education and we have started playing around with chat and google talk, and we are also looking at using skyp.n

    • Edixon
      November 18th, 2011 at 11:36 | #2

      Our 3rd grade teacher is using Skype to communicate with other 3rd graders all across the country. They have Skype meetings with a different class once per week.

  2. Barbara Greenstone
    November 18th, 2011 at 11:28 | #3

    I’m wondering if anyone has tried using chats as a backchannel in class – as a way to have kids talk in class without interrupting. How has that worked?

    • Edixon
      November 18th, 2011 at 11:30 | #4

      I tried this in class when we were watching the film version of our class text. I posed questions to the students regarding the differences between what they had read and how certain scenes were depicted in the film.

    • Eschmidt
      November 18th, 2011 at 11:32 | #5

      I have used chat to check in with kids privately however, I have had to ask kids to get back to work while watching them on remote desktop because they are chatting and not working.

  3. Edixon
    November 18th, 2011 at 11:29 | #6

    Last spring, at the end of a novel study with 8th graders, I discovered students LOVE to chat about a text when the chatting is online.

  4. Smichaud
    November 18th, 2011 at 11:30 | #7

    I’ve never used online chats, but would like to learn how it can be used constructively in a classroom to teach.

  5. Pfaley
    November 18th, 2011 at 11:30 | #8

    I would like to do more with using chats, Skype in the classroom.

    • November 18th, 2011 at 12:37 | #9

      Skype for educators is a great resource to connect with teachers both in and out of the school district.

  6. Eschmidt
    November 18th, 2011 at 11:44 | #10

    I really like the idea that you can have the chat room open while class is taking place for questions and commentsnn1

  7. Mcharette
    November 18th, 2011 at 12:41 | #11

    In my 8th grade class we had students creating presentations in Google. One student in my homeroom was paired with another student in the other homeroom. They were forced to interact via chat and create a collaborate a presentation that each student had to present to their homeroom. We also gave them opportunity for positive feedback.

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