I love it! A teacher subverting the formal classroom experience and making the informal result a learning experience! He's doing so by turning the classroom "backchannel" into a teaching tool (the backchannel is that age-old back-o'-the-classroom multi-directional chat the digital version of which looks like an instant-messaging window on the screen). Author and college instructor Ira Socol uses Today'sMeet (a software tool created by his son), which bring the backchannel forward – public – for all to see, he says in his blog. He checks it every few minutes to see if he needs to "adjust" the class discussion. "In a big class it gave me real access to far more students than I can possibly get by watching for raised hands. And it let me – and the class – hear from many who never raise their hands. Honestly, I could even judge, much more clearly than usual, what was connecting and what was missing. As an instructor – I loved it." Here's the coolest part (for reflexive critics who might wonder, "Why add another distraction from the lecture to all that those multitasking students have on their plates?"): The backchannel tech "began to overwhelm Facebook and email use in the room [amazing in itself]. The distraction technology became engagement technology [emphasis mine]." Atlanta-area high school teacher Vicki Davis, who I follow in Twitter, blogged about Socol's blog post, with photos. She picked up on 2 big pluses: The first in Socol's words, quoted in her post: "the ways this kind of technology supports the shy user, the user with speech issues, the user having trouble with the English Language, the user who'd rather be able to think through and even edit a statement or question before asking it." The second plus is hers: "It is also important to point out that archived backchannels give students the ability to take group notes and have the information later."
NEW! Subscribe to our newsletter
Please sign up for our email newsletter. We publish about twice a month (you can easily unsubscribe if you need to).
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- Powerful lessons for preventing bullying & cyberbullying
- Mobile rules in the US now too
- What are we really seeing in the social media fishbowl?
- Spoiler alert: Kid loves teaching Twitter to Dad
- At the IGF: Youth participation = greater youth e-safety
- Enabling peer protection: Knowledge is empowerment
- Millennials’ changing social media use: Survey
- Heard of Twitch? Amazon has!
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- High school kids show strong support for First Amendment
- UN bringing child rights into the digital age
- IGF attendees complain about censorship in Turkey while some advocate it for youth
- Internet Governance Forum topics include human rights, network neutrality and child protection
- Protecting children online needs to allow for their right to free speech
- It’s time for schools to upgrade both technology and pedagogy
- Why Google (and Facebook) should admit kids under 13
- As Ferguson struggles, Georgia teens create app to rate police departments