Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Backchannels Keep the Conversation Flowing (TodaysMeet ELITE 1)

Picture a classroom where students are actively engaged in learning...
Were you imagining a lecture?  Probably not.

Backchannels are digital environments (chat rooms) that provide a place for students to actively participate by posting questions, comments, and ideas.  The teacher monitors the backchannel and responsively addresses student needs in real-time.

TodaysMeet is one of the easiest backchannels to use.  It's browser-based, so it works on all devices with internet access.  Setting up a backchannel takes about a minute.

Let's try it out, first as a user.

Immersion Activity:
  1. Open this backchannel on your browser: todaysmeet.com/selfie_conscious
  2. Share your reactions to this video on the backchannel as you watch:

Creating a Backchannel:

  1. Go to todaysmeet.com and sign up using your Google account.
  2. Pick a name for your room
  3. Decide how long the room will be open and who can join.
  4. For an additional layer of safety, set a password to limit access the chat.
  5. Open your room!
Share the backchannel with your students as an address, link, or QR code.  It's so easy!

Examples from the Classroom:

  • Stacey Roshan talks about the impact on Socratic Seminars in English class
  • Tanner Higgin on giving introverts a voice
  • Backchannels are a great place for students to leave questions for the teacher outside of the school day.  When new students come online, they can catch up on the conversation, find the answers to their questions, and glean new understandings from questions they hadn't considered.
As you prepare to use backchannels in your classroom, think about how you will manage the chat room.  With clear expectations and understanding, backchannels can be a great tool for student engagement. 

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