Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A practice backchannel

Here is a look at a backchannel.  Students can use their cell phone in class to comment, ask questions, and write.  I plan on using it while we have author chats on Skype--the author can read the comments of my students while he/she is still talking and responding to a particular point of interest.

You can try it out now.  Using the instructions at the top of the screen, send a text message.  You should see it pop up instantly right here on the screen of this blog.  If you are not registered on the host website it generates an anonymous name for you.

I'll make a different one for my class and project it onto the wall of my room, or on a smart board if you use one.  This can also be useful during class discussion, reading, journal entries, etc.  It allows shy students to get involved; it also allows students to use technology which they all already have and are good is a another tool to draw kids into the discussion.  I can post questions this a quick grammar drill...brainstorming for writing assignments...etc.


  1. Ok - this is very cool but how do you get past the no cellphones in class rule?

  2. Darci,

    Valid question--and Googling it brings you to many opinions on the matter. However, in my case, the IT for our building met with the principal and the director of technology to discuss it. All parties agreed that allowing students to use the technology they already own is something we may need to explore and reconsider our policies on.

    A cell phone is banned because it can be a distraction to the educational process...yet I am sure there are other concerns.

    We are giving it a try for a few lessons in my class as the school year ends. If we don't like it then we move on...if it looks like it can serve a purpose, then the conversation is reopened.