muse: n. a source of inspiration


From Wikipedia:

Backchannel is the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside live spoken remarks. The term was coined in the field of Linguistics to describe listeners’ behaviours during verbal communication, Victor Yngve 1970.

The term “backchannel” generally refers to online conversation about the topic or the speaker. Occasionally backchannel provides audience members a chance to fact-check the presentation.

First growing in popularity at technology conferences, backchannel is increasingly a factor in education where WiFi connections and laptop computers allow students to use ordinary chat like IRC or AIM to actively communicate during class.

What does this mean to us as educators?

Backchanneling allows students to chat, using technology, during a presentation. In a situation where every student has a laptop, students could use a chat room or IRC software to discuss what the presenter is saying. Okay – I could see using that, as long as every student has access to a laptop and as long as there’s sufficient supervision to make sure that the students are actually on task.

But what about backchanneling across the United States?


Let’s say you have a bunch of people who teach on Sunday mornings (y’know anybody like that?). Let’s say that they teach the same age group and they want to show a movie.

What if you could coordinate this among classes in different cities? Show the movie with backchanneling available? So that kids could comment and discuss with students in other places?

Or a book club – across state borders?

If you’re interested in pursuing this for the upper grades – I teach 8th and 9th grade… let me know.



March 25, 2009 Posted by | collaboration, Technology | , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: