Friday, August 21, 2015

The Importance of a Backchannel

When I was a classroom teacher, I used a lot of different tools to help my students, but since I have left teaching and became I librarian, I have learned of another thing that is just as important as some of those resource:  a Backchannel.  
In our technological times, a backchannel is the comments and questions that happen during a social media interaction, a lecture or a webinar.   In the classroom, that could mean using a tool like TitanPad or Padlet to allow students to create questions and comments about something happening in class.   
It could mean letting kids use to chat during a presentation about the topic being discussed.  Regardless of the form, a backchannel is a huge asset to the classroom. Why? Because a backchannel isn't going to go away and kids can refer to it whenever they need to as an aid to study.
I have participated in a lot of twitter chats, webinars and discussions and in many of them, having that backchannel later as a reference has helped me numerous times.
It's simple to look at the notes and find the comment someone made about their use of a tool or find the link to the web tool that worked for a teacher.
It's a fantastic and necessary addition to your classroom.  Teachers, a backchannel is easy to do- find a site that kids can access to type in notes. Here are some easy and free sites you can use for the backchannel.
Titanpad, todaysmeet even google docs can work. 
Be sure to monitor the kids, but, the results are a lot of resources kids can use for a future assignment or test.

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