Friday, November 30, 2012

Using a Back Channel - TodaysMeet

I have been using a simple tool when teaching via webinar, TodaysMeet.com. It is being used in education for a variety of other purposes. Let me explain how I use the tool, I’ll  show you how it works and then share some other uses.

I use it as a back channel for participants to ask questions. The term back channel is used in politics and diplomacy to mean “a secret, unofficial, or informal channel of communication” (The Free Dictionary) It is also used to describe “ the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside the primary group activity or live spoken remarks” (Wikipedia) The chat feature offered by most web conferencing tools is a type of of back channel. To get people accustomed to the tool I use it first as a warm up activity.  I ask people to share something new they have recently learned.  The activity helps me get to know the participants and they use the TodaysMeet application.  This way I know they can use it when and if they chose. I then invite participants to give me feedback or ask questions during the webinar training session.  It has worked well especially when working with larger groups when my ability to hear individuals is compromised.  Even in smaller groups, it gives participants another avenue to ask a question.

This link will take you to a demonstration on how to set up a meeting and how to contribute. This tool is free and easy to use.  No account needed.

Here are some examples of how others have used the tool.

  • Penny Kuckkahn: The best example would be when a group 4-5 were interviewing some community members at the museum the students took notes using the tool.  Then they had all the notes in one place and created a presentation from those notes.  Rather than having to pull together their handwritten notes.
  • Penny Kuckkahn: When several people go to the same conference together It is a great way to keep connected and know where each other are going and what is happening at the sessions. You also then have all resources right there for you after.
  • Angie Rondello: A colleague of mine has used it while the class watched a movie. Students were able to comment and ask questions while the movie was going without interrupting the movie. (students used school laptops or their own device)
  • Angie Rondello: I've been in a sectional workshop where they used it for the audience members to ask questions. The feed was displayed via LCD projector and there was a panel answering the questions and/or the main presenter would answer during the presentation.
  • Deirdre Bonnycastle. Use by study groups or for meet ups - easier than Twitter.
  • Gloria Hofer. This is a great way to aggregate student's thoughts, questions and reactions during a lecture and then capture it in the transcript!

1 comment:

  1. The TLT Group experimented with using TodaysMeet to conduct a book discussion. This link will take you to a short video explanation, http://youtu.be/HiUT2dK85w0

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