Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Backchannelling and Year 6

In this post, I will be discussing a website called Today’s Meet (http://todaysmeet.com). First, I’ll discuss “Backchannelling” and how our class used Today’s Meet and how it can help with teaching and learning. You may also find the blogpost helpful at Langwitches.
Let’s get started:

What is Backchannelling?
Backchannelling is a method of collaborative learning and reflection using a chat facility which is carried on during a presentation, lecture or class to support the learning of the members of the audience by linking the knowledge of others to the topic or issues of the presentation.

Here are several good chat tools which you can try out to see which is appropriate for your context, such as:

• Present.ly (http://presentlyapp.com/)
• Edmodo (http://www.edmodo.com/)
• Todaysmeet (http://todaysmeet.com/)
• Chatzy (http://www.chatzy.com/)
• Google Wave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Wave)

My purpose here is not to rate the chat tools per se, although I mention Today’s Meet and Google Wave, but to reflect upon how the tools were used and how they benefited learning in our context.

We used Today’s Meet for our first full on backchannelling activity which was integrated into our Inquiry topic of the Global Marketplace. To begin, I introduced the lesson by reviewing the Learning Objectives of the lesson, as well as activating Prior Knowledge about the topic we were looking at and the relevant vocabulary as well as connecting it to previous lessons.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankieroberto/ / CC BY 2.0
We then moved into the main part of the lesson which involved media presentations an, discussions and practical activities.

One of the practical activities was having children present what their Jigsaw groups had learned about the topic. As the children presented, the rest of the class particiapted through Today's Meet by highlighting key words, facts they had which supported the speaker or contradicted them and questions which we had the opportunity to answer together at the end of each presentation. Through creative use of the desktop, we were able to show both the backchannelling conversations and any multimedia presentations by the groups.

While the use of Backchannelling was not perfect, mainly due to minor inappropriate use of the system, it was in general a success. The children demonstrated an improving ability to multitask while they actively participated in the lesson through listening and connecting understanding of details, facts and knowledge with others and expanding the learning of the audience beyond the presentation.

Have you used backchannelling in your class? Which platform have you used? What difficulties have you overcome? What advice would you offer to teachers starting out in this area?


Post a Comment