I think you bring up an interesting topic. My first experience with a back channel was at the ISTE conference in June. A presenter would set up a back channel (or chat room) that the audience could use to ask questions, share ideas, and interact with the speaker as well as the other audience without interrupting the presentation. It was a powerful way to keep the audience engaged and allow a large group to interact with each other. It also allowed everyone a chance to voice their opinion. Chatzy is one that was used at ISTE. Chatzy has a mobile site, so users could participate from their smartphones as well as computers.
In a training situation, I haven't used a back channel for participates to chat, but I have used a virtual "parking lot" for particiates to post questions, ideas and comments during my training session. My favorite tool for this is Wallwisher. However, recently I have had some problem with the site. If you also experience problems, you could try Corkboard.me.
I like to hear others experience with backchannels.
The author, Kevin Jarrett, is also looking for some feedback regarding backchanneling in the classroom for a presentation he will be doing soon. Help him out by checking out his blog post here.
Thanks for mentioning my blog post here! I wanted to share a new site for backchanneling that is growing in popularity:
It might be worth looking into, especially in districts where a lot of backchannel sites are blocked!
I went to backchan and it seems to work real well. I did have an initial problem, how do the other participants log in. I guess you have to remember the URL for the class or presentation you set up, as I didn't really find any other instructions on how to.
Their suggestions on how to use backchan made a lot of sense. Now...once you start a "conference" does that conference go away after a certain time, or is it a permanent setup to be used over and over.
If you know where I can find these answers, please link it here. Thanks so much. I really like getting all this information to try out.
I just ran across some good reasons for using backchanneling with students in a classroom:
This may be too late for Kevin Jarrett''s presentation on backchanneling in the classroom, but maybe he can use this information for future posts.
Backchanneling is using networked computers to participate in a real-time online conversation alongside live spoken remarks. You can us it to make comments on a topic and/or speaker. Students with access to a backchannel can use it to engage in a chat in a controlled environment. It's a great way for an audience to share ideas, ask questions, and interact with a speaker as well as other members of the audience without interrupting the speaker's presentation.
I think it is more appropriate for use at the middle and high school level.
Thanks for asking.
I just got home from FETC (Florida Educational Technology Conference). Here is one brief article about backchanneling.
This year Edmodo was all the RAGE during FETC. I really like it, but will only use it as a prof. development resource.
I would speak with your IT person either at your school or at the district level. They might be able to provide you some additional assistance based on your network configuration.
I have read about Todays Meet which appears to be a good choice for connecting with an audience in real-time. However, I just learned about another backchannel Mister Thread that is a free service for creating your own backchannel forum. Has anyone tried this one?
The advantage of Mister Thread is that you can create a forum by simply naming it and clicking "create the thread." Then you get a URL to give to people that you want to participate in your conversation. An added feature is that you can password protect your thread by choosing a password that all visitors are required to use to join your conversation. Also you can enter your email address so that you have the option of destroying your thread.
What do you think of this backchannel?
Skeptics — and at this stage they far outnumber enthusiasts — fear introducing backchannels into classrooms will distract students and teachers, and lead to off-topic, inappropriate or even bullying remarks. A national survey released last month found that 2 percent of college faculty members had used Twitter in class, and nearly half thought that doing so would negatively affect learning. When Derek Bruff, a math lecturer and assistant director of the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, suggests fellow professors try backchannels, “Most look at me like I’m coming from another planet,” he said.