Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Instant Messaging in the Classroom

Many students in this day and age are already way ahead of teachers and other adults in the classroom in regards to technology. Many students use Skype, AIM, or other instant messaging as a ways of communicating with friends outside of school so why not use it in school as well as a way to enrich the educational culture?

Instant messaging is one of the simplest forms of communication from two or more computers. It is when messages are sent back and forth from two or more people in real time. They are usually text but recently some have been used for audio and video purposes as well.

Some educational uses of instant messaging can include asking other students or the teacher for help when they are at home, having collaborative projects or researching with students in other classes or schools, virtual guest speakers, etc.


  1. Zack,

    I agree that using instant messaging is a great way to communicate and collaborate outside of school. I teach elementary school and I have never heard my students talk about using AIM or Skype to discuss classroom projects with their peers. It could possibly be because they have not considered using these great tools in such a way. Have you actually held discussions about using these tools outside of school? Have you overheard your students’ discussions about these tools as a mean to collaborate?

    Have you considered setting up “office hours” and making yourself available to students after school by using these tools? I think it is a fantastic idea, I am just wondering how many teachers would give up their time, unless it is during their work day after the students left the building.

  2. I have considered using it as "office hours" but have not actually tried it as of yet. I still am trying to decide if I want to this year or not because I want to make sure about privacy and all of those things. I have the students e-mail me instead. The most I have done is as a homework option, the students had to IM about class and then print off the page with the screennames changed or blacked out and hand it to me. Some students enjoyed this option and some students settled on a reading that I had for them instead. A few students created fake IMs using a word document which I also said was acceptable.

    I think another reason why you may not have heard about it is now since facebook has the chat option that many of the students that are online use that instead of IM and also since my age level of kids is a little higher.