Sunday, December 20, 2009

Using backchannel tools in the classroom!

After reading about some of the newest innovations out there I thought... "How can I incorporate some of these things into my classroom?"  I began to research some of the backchannel tools and decided to begin using them.  One of these backchannels is Live Audience Polling.

Live Audience Polling

   I have talked briefly on this before, however this is a great tool to assist in discussion and a great way to get instant feedback!  The other great thing is that it is completely anonymous and the students have no fear of failure or embarrassment when answering questions or commenting.  I found that when I used this, my students were actively engaged and were able to express themselves in the conversation/discussion in a comfortable way.  Every student was involved, not one student refused to answer... it was awesome!  In an age where 90 percent of our students are texting instead of calling and feel more comfortable chatting with their fingers as opposed to chatting with their mouths this was right down their alley!  When class ended they wanted to continue with the work we were doing and did not want it to end.  They took so much out of the class and learned so much through the use of technology.   Imagine being able to take the things that our students are passionate about and using that to help them learn!  The link to the site I used for my polling is below... and it is free so check it out!

Todays Meet

  Todays Meet is a terrific tool to use in different situations when you are looking to begin an online chat.  This is something that can be used to discuss a movie for instance while it is playing in class.   As I walk down the halls of my school I often see movies being shown for education purposes.  The teacher often uses the movie to enhance the learning.  The problem is the students will have a question sheet to answer during the movie or they will be asked to take notes during the movie for a discussion afterward.  How many ideas and how much insight is lost in the process???  I say plenty!  Using this tool you have the opportunity to put up a chat room designed specifically for your class.  You can open the chat for one day or one year or anything in between and the students can discuss DURING THE MOVIE!  They can give insight and ideas and you as the teacher can discuss simultaneously...  This is just one way to use this tool however I feel there are many ways to incorporate a class chat room and it can be very beneficial in the classroom! Imagine the possibilities and the student participation with something like this!  The link for this site is below... try it out!

I will be posting more backchannel ideas that can be used in the classroom and beyond.  These tools are often used in college as well as business presentations everyday!  Why are we not preparing our students to be comfortable with them?  It is exciting what is out there and I am excited to continue researching and finding out new ways to explore the technology we can use!  Hope this post was helpful to many of you...

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