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Table of Contents
I. History of 99Chats
99Chats is a free 65KB web application which focuses on social interaction via chat rooms.11 99chats is a flash chat room widget allowing bloggers, website owners, and users at social networks to create and place a free chat room in their pages, easily allowing them to interact with their visitors.16 99Chats was created in December of 2008 by the 99Widgets Group Widget Network and is hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, by NationalNet Inc Network.2
- 99Chats is a completely free chat room application3
- It allows users to create chat rooms or participate in thousands of other active chat rooms3
- Users can then embed chat rooms to any website, blog, eBay page, or other social network profile4
- 99Chats is also fully customizable for its users9
- It also supports tabbed private messaging with chat members7
- 99Chats offers flood detection, user block, and prevention mechanism5
- The application is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Japanese3
- Provides users with an instruction manual to use while in chat rooms3
- It allows webmasters and bloggers to create their own themes or choose one of the made and ready-to-use themes13
Any visitor to 99Chats may participate in chat rooms without creating an account. Users must register with 99Chats in order to create their own chat rooms, but signing up is free.3 99Chats asks users not to modify code or remove text ads. 99Chats prides itself in being a free service and this is done so through advertisement links which come attached with the embedding of chat rooms.16
99Chats.com was founded by 99Widgets Group and is a part of the Widget Network which offers a variety of other free services aside from 99Chats. All of their widgets use one-login information allowing webmasters to easily benefit from other services without the hassle of signing up for multiple services. The various other widgets featured in the 99Widgets Network are: 99Counters.com, a free geo targeted counter for blogs and websites allowing quick stats, and 99Polls.com which allows webmaster and blog owners create their own flash polls widgets and easily embed them on their websites. 99Stats is yet another widget that collects information regarding how many people visit your website, what they look at while they are there, and which of your pages is the most popular. This application receives an analysis of web traffic to their web pages and allows 99Stats users to spot trends and create fresh content.4
II. How To Use 99Chats
In order to create a chatroom, you must first sign up for 99Chats. However, sign-up is free.
Create Chat Room
After you sign up, you will then come to the "Create a new Room" where you will be asked to select options about your chat room such as category, tags, theme, chat box size, and background color. From here, you will continue to the next page and complete the process of creating your own chat room.3
Once you finish creating your chat room, your chat room is open for use on 99Chats. Then you can begin to chat away!8
How to Embed Chat Room
99Chats has a "My Rooms" page for their users. Here, you are able to edit your chat rooms, look up the code for each chat room, and even create a new room.3
Customize Chat Room
99Chats is very user-friendly and easy to use. It includes customizable features across the entirety of the site to suit your individual taste and preferences.6 As previously mentioned, when creating a chat room you are able to choose the size of the chat box, the background, and the theme. Not only are you able to choose a theme; but, through 99Chats you are able to create and customize your own theme. Throughout this process, you can edit your theme's border, background, text box area, buttons, and tabs. These themes can then be saved and shared with other users of 99Chats.9
III. How 99Chats Relates to other Applications
Uses and Characteristics for 99Chats
There are various uses for 99Chats for each person. For example, 99Chats can be used for whatever one desires: interaction among blog readers, posts from friends on one’s profile, and much more. Also 99Chats is customizable for everyone, with different backgrounds, colors, fonts and styles that can all be changed to reflect the personality of each user. There are also other widgets like 99Stats, 99Polls, and 99Counter that users can enjoy.10
With your free account, using 99Counter, you can create customized web counters for your website, blog and social network profiles. You can also create customized surveys and polls, with 99Polls. With 99Stats you can analyze your web traffic, which will help you to create content that will attract more readers to your website.14
As far as unique uses are concerned, this is the first chat room that supports tabbed private messaging with other members while in a public chat room. It also allows you to create embeddable chat boxes and easily manage them all from one online account. According to Erik Smith, one of the 99Chats widget founders, “99Chats lets people start their own chat room, and allows them to add it to their eBay page, social networking site, or anywhere else on the Internet.”4
Comparing 99Chats and Disadvantages
Oftentimes, knowing who you are actually chatting with enhances the overall quality of your conversation because you are familiar with the person at the other end of the chat room. Also at times, chat rooms can have a couple of different conversations going on within one chat box, which can sometimes be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the user’s preference.
Also, unlike other chat applications, 99Chats does not allow the user to know when other users are in the process of typing a response in the chat box. As seen, Facebook chat offers a small speech bubble to let users see that the person they are chatting with it responding, but 99Chats does not provide this application.Unlike Facebook, 99Chats does not allow you the ability to select who to talk to. Facebook Chat is more personal, one on one chat while 99Chats is group discussion among users you don't know.One other disadvantage of this site is due to the large number of chat rooms on 99Chats, there are not always people in every chat room.
99Chats has the potential for many other uses than those already listed. With the number of stories increasing of people forming friendships via the internet, 99Chats offers the opportunity to talk with other people about a specific topic.
IV. Demonstration of Educational Value
99Chats has a wide variety of uses and there is definite educational value. This application has a lot of potential in a classroom setting as it can be beneficial not only to students, but to teachers, parents, and administrators alike, but it may need to undergo some changes before educators will be willing to implement this application into their classrooms.
i. Elementary Lesson Plans
(1) Weekend Adventures
In this lesson plan, students will join the teacher's chat room and write a minimum of three sentences about their plans for the coming weekend.
(2) Math Is Fun! (S.T.E.M.)
In this lesson plan, students will play a math-related computer game and then write about their favorite part of the game.
(3) I'm Thankful For
In this lesson plan, students will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and talk about what they are thankful for in their life.
(4) Area Code Math
In this lesson plan students will be provided a map of the United States with area codes from different cities and states on it. The teacher will prepare a set of math problems based on the area codes that use addition and subtraction. Using 99Chats, the students will post their answers to compare with their peers and create their own area code problem.
(5) Cave Art Using 99Chats
In this lesson plan, students will look at photos of cave art and write down what they notice about the photos, answering questions such as: What does the picture look like? What do you think the artist had in mind when they drew the picture? Next, the student will use 99Chats to discuss what they learned about Cave Art in class with their peers.
(6) Jungle Animal Research Using 99Chats
In this lesson plan, students will research as a group their particular animal that the teacher assigns of them. They will find basic information about the animal such as what the animal looks like, where its habitat is, what its environment is, what they eat, and any necessary information they would like to provide. They then will sign into 99chats and have a discussion with others and compare their information they found through research to what others know of the animal and compare the findings to the others knowledge. They will then report to the class their findings in a presentation.
ii. Secondary Lesson Plans
(1) The Great Debate
In this lesson students will explore the issues surrounding safety on the Internet.
(2) Science Fair Extravaganza (S.T.E.M.)
In this lesson plan, students are required to participate in the school science fair and chat about possible project topics.
(3) Our Future Teachers
In this lesson plan, students are enrolled in a cadet teaching program at their local high school and discuss the pros and cons of teaching.
(4) Who Wants To Earn Some Points
In this lesson plan, student will work in a group and have the opportunity to earn extra credit points.
iii.Post-Secondary Lesson Plans
(1) Bright Ideas
In this lesson plan, students will read novels for their English class.
After each novel read, teacher will assign a discussion post for homework. The teacher will facilitate the discussion by asking a question about certain topics, and students must make a certain amount of responses.
(2) Homework Help (S.T.E.M.)
In this lesson plan, teachers will assign online homework each class.
The teacher will embed a 99Chats chat room into the homework so that students can ask their peers or the teacher for help on certain problems.
(3) Written Essays
In this lesson plan, instead of assigning foreign language essays in class, the teacher will assign a time for the students to write essays on 99Chats.
The teacher will post a topic, and the students must respond in the language being studied.
(99Chats is offered in many different languages: Spanish, Italian, German, French)
(4) World War II in the Pacific
In this lesson plan the students will learn about WWII and debate using 99Chats whether it was a good decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
1. Communication between students and teacher
- Provides a forum to ask and answer questions
2. Can be used for on-line discussion
- Users are able to make posts and participate in private messaging
3. Provides an alternative to e-mail/Facebook
4. Allows for real-time text messaging
5. Can be applied to distance learning situations
- Students and teachers are able to converse when outside the classroom
6. Allows users to communicate internationally
- Fosters the exchange of ideas and communication with international users.
7. Contains a chat directory which organizes the chat rooms into topics for easy navigation
8. Encourages active participation
- Students that may not participate in class will be given the opportunity to participate through online discussions
1. Impossible to monitor
- Teachers do not currently have the ability to control what type of content is added to their chat, nor can they differentiate who joins it (i.e. random people could join and post anything they wanted). Students have free roam over 99Chats and their activity cannot be watched by teachers
2. Inappropriate/Non-Academic Content
- Students would have access to non-academic topics such as sports, movies, and games which would eliminate the educational value. Also, there is a large amount of inappropriate content available to all users which may not be classroom or age appropriate
3. Absence of a Report Button
- This site is lacking a report button. To make this site safer, users need to be able to report problems with other users such as threats, verbal abuse, etc.
4. Limited amount of Languages
- While this website claims to be International and for all users, it is only offered in seven different languages. The rest of the languages that are not offered are not being given the same opportunity therefor the diversity of this website is not as advertised.
V. How 99Chats is Used Internationally?
99Chats can be used by people internationally to communicate with people in other countries. It is very beneficial for the exchange of research, ideas, and information between countries.
This site provides a multitude of possibilities for students. Using this site, students are able to:
- Easily communicate ideas with individuals in other countries
- Easily communicate research and information with a group of people in another country
- Sort their international chats into educational topics
- Communicate worldwide in a secure environment
It is proven by this project that 99Chats can be used internationally. Using 99Chats, a group of individuals from Scotland and a group of individuals from the United States were able to communicate ideas, exchange information, combine research, and together create and complete a project. Based on this experience, These students can testify that 99Chats can be used by students to ask questions and complete projects with international partners.
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