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Posts Tagged ‘21st Century’

Backchanneling in the Classroom?

Posted by dennisar on September 16, 2009

I have been in a number of forums where the subject of backchanneling for learning in the classroom has been mentioned. I personally use it all the time in exactly the same way Dana Boyd does. It has dramatically increased my learning power. See the excerpt from her blog post below. I also Scott Snyder’s presentation at 2008. Hope this helps you move beyond confusion.


Wikipedia Definition

Backchannel is the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside live spoken remarks. The term was coined in the field of Linguistics to describe listeners’ behaviours during verbal communication, Victor Yngve 1970.
The term “backchannel” generally refers to online conversation about the topic or the speaker. Occasionally backchannel provides audience members a chance to fact-check the presentation.
First growing in popularity at technology conferences, backchannel is increasingly a factor in education where WiFi connections and laptop computers allow students to use ordinary chat like IRC or AIM to actively communicate during class.

Blog Post on Backchannling

Dana Boyd’s Blog apophenia :: making connections where none previously existed

I want my cyborg life

Excerpt: There’s no doubt that I barely understood what the speaker was talking about. But during the talk, I had looked up six different concepts he had introduced (thank you Wikipedia), scanned two of the speakers’ papers to try to grok what on earth he was talking about, and used Babelfish to translate the Italian conversations taking place on Twitter and FriendFeed in attempt to understand what was being said. Of course, I had also looked up half the people in the room (including the condescending man next to me) and posted a tweet of my own.
But, of course, the attack was not actually about the reality of my internet habits but the perception of them. There’s no doubt that, when given a laptop in a lecture setting, most people surf the web, check email, or play video games. Their attention is lost and they’ve checked out. Of course, there’s an assumption that technology is to blame. The only thing that I really blame said technology for is limiting doodling practice for the potential future artist (and for those of us who still can’t sketch to save our lives). Y’see – I don’t think that people were paying that much attention before. Daydreaming and sketching (aka “taking notes”) are not particularly new practices. Now the daydreamer might just be blogging instead.

Back-channels in the Classroom

Scott H. Snyder Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, USA
Bio: Scott, a graduate of Bowling Green State University (Ohio) with a B.S. in Education, has been teaching for 15 years. A member of the English
Department at Cedar Cliff High School, Camp Hill, PA, USA, Scott teaches Theater, American Literature, and AP Language and Composition.
Presentation Description: Backchanneling, traditionally an online discussion running alongside a live presentation, is a way to engage all students in classroom activities, including students who are normally non-participants. Issues and student needs that lead me to the technique, the educational
relevance of the process, backchanneling services (including possibilities and limitations of several), and example activities will all be addressed in this presentation.
Post By Dean Shareski ⋅ on 2008 October 29, 2008

Crossposted at


Posted in Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, Social Media & Open Education, Three C's of 21st Century T&L | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ECI831 – September 14, 2009 – Week 2

Posted by dennisar on September 14, 2009

Week one was for those taking this course for credit.

Here’s a post on how Alec is using Twitter as one way to help participants connect during the course. He is using the power of one tool ( to mine the richness of another tool (twitter). This “structural move” on his part potentially facilitates communication and collaboration within the class. Its usefulness, however, is dependent on whether or not the class takes advantage of this resource.

EC&I 831 Twitter Lists

By admin | Published: September 14, 2009

Hi everyone,
I have taken all of the Twitter user ids of for-credit students, non-credit students, and presenters and have created two lists. I had to create two lists as the limit is currently 100 members for each list. I am told by TweepML that they will raise the limit soon at which time I will combine the lists into one.

For now:
List #1:
List #2:

I believe this will make it a bit easier for people to find each other on Twitter.

Posted in Social Media & Open Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What is Connectivism and Connective Knowledge?

Posted by dennisar on September 13, 2009

This post will evolve over the next 6 months (September 2009 – February 2010) as I find resources that help to develop an answer to this question. Please use the comment section below to offer any suggestions for resources or personal reflections.

Resource One

George Siemens discusses Connectivism and connective knowledge. Filmed at the ED-MEDIA 2009-World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications.

From gregaloha on YouTube Uploaded to YouTube July 30, 2009

Resource 2

George gives an introduction to CCK09.

  1. Be patient. Establishing “comfort with the course” will take time.
  2. Learning is a fundamentally network forming process and growing your networks (see examples below) is an associated skill.
  • Writing blog posts.
  • Developing and sharing a concept map for the course.
  • Posting course overviews.
  • Interacting with other course participants.

“The experience of the course is the course itself.”

“The initial theoretical slant actually gives way to a very practical focus on the course as a whole.”

Resource 3

George’s week 1 video.

  1. The course is designed so I will experience the theory by participating in the course activities.
  2. The course will have a research sub-group.
  3. There will be week long in-course conferences with guest speakers to support deep reflection on topics.
  4. The traditional view or definition of “course” in practice severely limits and restricts learning. “We want to deconstruct, destabilize the notion of a “course.”
  5. The course will rely on software (Google Alert = cck09) to aggregate any content produced by participants.

“We want to give you as many diverse options as possible.” For example, Moodle forum; Second Life; Your own Blog; diigo; delicious

“We encourage you to form those [connections with participants for] discussions with other participants in the course. And I think you will find that to be a most significant aspect of the learning experience….the connections with other learners.”

Posted in Connectivism and Connective Knowledge | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Would Google Do About Education?

Posted by dennisar on September 9, 2009

Here is a slideshow summary of the book What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis? What have you learned as an educator that would fall under the category of “What Google Would Do” about education?

Additional help:

1. This What Would Google Do About Journalism? post might help.

2. In this video, Jeff Jarvis gives and overview of the rules he discusses in the book.

3. You’ll find a longer video (79 minutes) with Jeff Jarvis here.

Posted in Social Media & Open Education, Three C's of 21st Century T&L | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Teaching & Learning with Alec and Others

Posted by dennisar on September 7, 2009

Today is Labor Day, a national holiday on the first Monday in September in the United States. Teachers have either returned to school by now or they begin tomorrow. One hundred and eighty days in a classroom from now until the end of the year. I will be teaching teachers this year. Three classes of teachers in three different school districts in Massachusetts. The classes begin on September 24th, October 15th and January 6th, respectively. I titled the course The Three C’s of 21st Century Teaching and Learning.

Time permitting, I will be participating as a non-registered student in an online course lead by Dr. Alec Couros from Saskatchewan, Canada titled Social Media & Open Education: Open, Connected, Social, ECI831.

This is the main page for EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education, an open access graduate course from the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. This course is available to both for-credit and not-for-credit students. It features openly available, live, and recorded presentations from notable educators & theorists. It is anticipated that the open nature of this course will benefit both the registered and non-registered students especially in the fostering and development of long-term, authentic, educational connections.

I’m looking forward to being a teacher and a learner this year.

For anyone unlucky enough not to be Canadian, here are some aids to help you prepare for the course.

Audio Aid: Saskatchewan (pronounced səˈskætʃɨwɑːn (listen))

Visual Aid: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Regina, Saskatchawan, Canada

Cultural Aid:

molson brewery

Posted in Social Media & Open Education, Three C's of 21st Century T&L | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »