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The Backchannel: Twitter, Google Moderator, and Classroom Communication

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David Rubeli

on 13 July 2010

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Transcript of The Backchannel: Twitter, Google Moderator, and Classroom Communication

A secondary channel of water, esp. one forming an island in a stream or river.
A means of communication which circumvents official channels, esp. in order to facilitate informal or clandestine negotiations
Any of various means, such as gestures or short verbal prompts, by which a listener may indicate attention to a speaker and thereby invite continued speech; (also) these means considered collectively.
Defining the backchannel OED Definitions Educational definitions "instant messaging synchronously occuring between individuals and in groups using online tools during a live event" (Toledo and Peters, 2010)
"three kinds of conversations that usually don’t occur in traditional one-to-many lectures or presentations": conversations amongst students, feedback from audience to presenters, interactions with virtual participants located outside the room (Bruff, 2010) The Backchannel: Twitter, Google Moderator, and Classroom Communication Photo Credit: Scootzx (http://bit.ly/cUTrGF) Photo credit: Batmoo (http://bit.ly/90eD4O) Benefits of backchannels in education • Informal learning through informal communication.
• Support of collaboration.
• Feedback on thoughts.
• Suggestions to reflect one’s own thoughts.
• Collaboration independent of time and place.
• Direct examination of thoughts and causes of learning. Benefits for students Benefits for instructors • Current information on the status of learning.
• Possibility to steer the intervention in the learning process of individuals and groups.
• Possibility for immediate, direct feedback.
• Facilitation of student group work.
• Getting an impression of the learning climate.

(Ebner et. al 2010) Distinguishing microblogs and weblogs Weblogs Microblogs Text-based
Archive and search
Regular updates
Subscription One-to-many authorship
Comments subordinate to post
Unlimited length
Many-to-many authorship
140 characters
Posts and comments symmetrical
Not labour-intensive Based on Table 1 in (Oulasvirta et. al, 2010) Instructional challenges Photo credit: AlexKress (http://bit.ly/d2XaD8) How well alligned is the idea of a backchannel with.... instructional objectives
instructor and field's dominant educational theory or philosophy of education
background and enculturation of learners into particular educational practices

How well is the backchannel integrated into the course? establish sensible etiquette guidelines to govern contributors and encourage the group to self-police
assign a moderator (with authority) to summarize and synthesize feedback and activity
create "a time for telling" (Swartz and Bransford, 1998) by exposing misconceptions
invite learners, staff and experts fromo outside the class to pparticipate
http://bit.ly/8ZcGEm Backchannel Roles Google Jockey
Expert (Rheingold cited in Yardi, 2010) How will the group encourage and respond to varied levels of participation? What forms of participation would be most valuable?
Co-active monologues or synchonous dialogue?
Listening and disclosure? Effective messages pose questions
state opinions
link to resources
check understanding
offer feedback
reflect on process or experience
Workshop Backchannel http://hootcourse.com/course/469/
Twitter - #sfuedtechbc David Rubeli

Educational Technology Series

July 13, 2010 Source: Stephen Downes Key aspects of educational blogs Based on Kerawalla et al. 2009 Tools for embedding backchannels into presentations SAP Web 2.0 Twitter Powerpoint Tools (alas only PC http://www.sapweb20.com/blog/powerpoint-twitter-tools/ Keynote (Mac) Autotweet http://code.google.com/p/keynotetweet/ Let's not forget about other potential backchannel tools like... Chat
Instant messaging
Video conferencing tools... Learning activities that work well with backchannels Q & A
Quick resource sharing
Fishbowl Activities
Collaborative notetaking
How will the activity enable members to maintain privacy and positive social presence
be exposed to multiple multiple points of view
assess arguments and information thoughtfully and critically The Twitter Experiment Revolution or Evolution Online Resources Hootcourse http://hootcourse.com/course/469/ Google Moderator http://goo.gl/mod/V4ba Harvard Live Question http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/questions/SFUBackchannel Twitter https://twitter.com/#search?q=%23SFUedtechbc Questions for Discussion Why are you interested in the topic of backchannels and polling in large classes?
How might these tools be useful in your work at SFU?
What are the benefits and risks of creating opportunities for conversation, dialogue, and feedback for instructors and learners? SFU Wiki - Backchannels in Education https://wiki.sfu.ca/public/index.php/Backchannels_for_education Key activities for informal social learning What are the educational implications of thinking about backchannel participants as... explorers journeying down a river on floes of information?
consumers of formal learning who produce counter-knowledge and trangress into the domain of experts?
discussants taking turns and supporting one another in a conversation?
neighbours following and being followed by one another?
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