February 4, 2011

Todays Meet

Back channeling: I know it is a scary thing to think about, but believe me, it is an amazing tool we can have in out tool belt. Innovative K-12 educators are adopting the practice for classroom use it as a means to increase student engagement. Backchannel is the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside live spoken remarks.

TodaysMeet helps you embrace the back channel and connect with our classrooms in realtime.

On Thursday I introduced my class to KidBlog and Friday I gave them their first assignment. I knew there were going to be questions from some, however many were going to be ready to begin. After I gave the assignment, I set up this back channel using TodaysMeet for Questions. The results were a quiet, controlled classroom.

I was able to answer these questions in real time and these students were up and going quickly.

I read about another way to back channel. Set up a backchannel before watching a movie and have the students discuss what they are seeing with each other.

I told you at the beginning that many of you will think back channeling will be a scary thing. I believe many of you will be apprehensive because of what the students may say. We need to be pro-active and tell the students what we expect and what we will not tolerate. If someone steps over the line, discipline should follow just as if it is not a technology issue.

Do you have other thoughts or ideas on back channels in the classroom?


  1. Great post Robin. One of the Computer Apps teachers on Diipo is actually trying to incorporate back channel participation.

  2. This is a great idea for pre-assessment in my math class. Gives me an idea of what the students know and don't know. Do you project the questions so all students can see the Q&A?

  3. Hi Kieron, Sometimes I share the "real time" results with my students and sometimes I don't. It just depends on what the purpose if the assignment is.

  4. Robin --

    Great idea! I am a principal (passionate about technology!) and I know one of the questions my teachers will ask if I show them this is "Are the kids distracted by using this." Personally, I would think they would be more engaged and in-tune to the lesson. I certainly know that I was when I participated in a session where the presenter used this tool.

    Any feedback as a classroom teacher?

  5. Dear Bulldog Principal, I believe it is just like any other web 2.0 tool. We need to set the expectations and stick with them. I have seen many teachers shy away from these amazing tools because of the "what if this happens". The kids must be taught the ethical use of these tools or they will be left to their own devices. If the question comes up I would be happy to speak with your teachers.