Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Backchanneling Basics #13 - Other uses of a backchannel

I promised this blogpost for the middle of June after school was out.
No excuses for it's tardiness except for the business of summer
vacation. Since school is begining to start back up, I thought I would
get back to uses of backchannels beyond my classroom.

First off, silent discussions seem to be a use of backchannels across
curricular areas. In my building, I'm aware of this technique being
used in another English classroom as well as a Social Studies
classroom. These two classrooms also use the technique for true
Socratic Seminars, allowing two simultaneous yet parallel discussions
to occur.

Outside my school, I've heard of foreign language classes using a
backchannel to write a story together on one day and then go back and
critique their grammar the net day. Art classes critique and discuss
works of art. Science classes observe and record details of scientific
experiments. Chemistry class post an equation and students explain how
to balance the reaction. Math classes post word problems or equations
and students explain the process used to solve the problem.

What I'm trying to show is that the possibilities are numerous, and
might only be limited by your imagination. Additionally, these uses
could span both middle school and high school. Give it a try with any
of these age groups for a truly engaging lesson.

This will be the last in the regular ongoing series of posts on
Backchanneling in the Classroom, but as I try new things or hear of
other uses by educators around the world, I'll share those as
additions to this series. Stay tuned. And if you have just recently
found his blog, check out my posts from earlier in 2009 on the subject
as well as my K12Online Conference presentation on this subject. You
can always contact me online if you have questions or need further