I am very interested in using a back channel in my classroom. What sites are you using? What problems have you had with it? What successes? Thanks for any information you can provide.

Tags: back, channel

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Ummm, what's a Back Channel that you use in a classroom?
Where I live it's an open irrigation pipe behind the far paddock! :-)
A back channel is a way for people to share notes during a lecture. During the lesson the students will make comments, provide feedback, etc.
William, Absolutely no offense to you....but....

Is it just me? Do any of the other 10,413 Classroom 2.0 teachers, administrators, IT people etc find the option for students to "back channel" rude and potentially mega-distracting? I've mentioned this before in a discussion forum and got my head bitten off but I thought I'd try it again.

Kids today are fritzy enough without trying to listen and do several other things at the same time. To me this is the consummate use of technology to no real benefit and it plays right into the scatteredness of many kids today. It allows students to talk throughout the entire presentation. I just don't get it. I may not be articulate enough to explain myself but I just keep thinking of Leno's comment to Hugh Grant after Grant's dailance with a lady of the night...."What were you thinking?"

I'm a veteran teacher nearing retirement but I am not a luddite. I've presented at NECC for 5 years, I use many technologies blogs, wikis, webpages, Moodle, video, podcasts, photography, etc. each year in the classroom, but I don't think I'm going to ever be convinced that this is a "go". OK, fire away. N.
It seems like it could go either way. If the conversation is off-topic then certainly it would be distracting. On the other hand students might have a lot to gain from interacting with each other during the lesson. I'm sure you'd agree that sometimes they can teach each other better than we can teach them.

Also I'd have to say that today's kids are "scattered" either way. They have been raised to multi-task. If we can take advantage of that for the purpose of teaching and learning that's a good thing.
Martha, Maybe I'm just getting old....or maybe it was my military father....or maybe it's because I teach gifted kids and they would talk all the time just to hear their heads rattle...I just can't see how this would work in any but the rarest cases. It encourages the multitasking, as you mentioned, but I see many of the tech skills our kids have today as thought-less, low level drivel (i.e. texting, IM, cut and paste, video). Thanks for commenting--N.
I understand what you are saying. I am not ready to have my students type while I am giving the lesson, I want them to use it after as a different way to collaborate. Kind of a think/pair/share using our network.
Thanks Wm, I've never heard of it. More vocab to add to my list!
William, we use Chatzy. It is very user friendly. It is used frequently with UStream to keep the official Ustream chat from becoming to distracting to the presenter (teacher). You can check Chatzy as you go, or later. You can also keep an archive.
Thanks, I will check it out.
Cover It Live is a tool I've seen used a lot for live events. Great tool for backchannels....

Thanks for the connection. jc
I like this too, wonder though if it might be too much for my students. I like the idea of placing media directly in it though.
Do a test run. Try CoverItLive first and few days later try Chatzy. Have the student assignment to feedback. Make a user rubric. Just a thought;D

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