Chat means "informal conversation" and can refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, but is primarily meant to refer to direct one-on-one chat. A chat is similar to a series of emails between two people that follow rapidly one another in real time. The single messages do not appear in different windows or web pages, but are displayed in the same chat window below each other, comparable to a conversation in a book, but with different text colours to mark the different individuals. The same window offers a text field where the next message can be typed and send. Emoticons (e.g. little faces with different expressions) can be added to the text to express feelings. One's own messages are visible as well as the other person's messages.
To start a chat you must first make sure that the person you want to chat to is also online. You can check who is online by opening the school pages. At the bottom of the side column of each school's profile page is displayed how many users are online and who. Also on project pages, single galleries and blogs it is displayed if the member of a project or author of a gallery or blog is online or offline. Click on a user to open their profile. Below the profile picture you can find a block called "Chat". Click on the "Begin Chat" button to start the chat.
The chat is displayed in a separate window that hovers on top of the other awarenet pages, so that you can continue to work on awarenet while you chat. You can move the window around on your screen by clicking and holding on the grey bar at the top of the window to get the window out of the way if you need to. You can alter the size of the chat window by clicking and holding on the little grey triangle at the bottom right corner of the window.
In the smaller field at the bottom of the window you can type the text that you want to send to your chat partner. When you have finished typing press enter to send the message. The message will appear in the larger field in the middle of the chat window displaying also date and time when the message was send. A red bar on the left side indicates that the message is still being transferred to the other chat partner. A green bar indicates that the message has arrived and can be read by your chat partner.
Your chat partner will most probably send an answer now, which will be readable just below the message that you have sent previously. Now, you can continue to send messages as long as you like. You can scroll up or down to read first and later messages.
To end the chat simply clicking on the little white X in the upper right corner.