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Posts Tagged ‘i3post’

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 »

CCK09 – Introduction

Posted by dennisar on September 11, 2009

I signed up for the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2009 (cck09) course this morning. George Siemens and Stephen Downes will co-facilitate the course form the University of Manitoba, Canada. The support wiki for the course provides additional information.

Our first task was to introduce ourselves using this outline.

Introduce yourself to other participants in the course. Let us know:

  • Where you’re from
  • Why you’re interested in this course
  • What has to happen in order for you to consider this course a success
  • Random information about yourself – your work, your experience with networked technologies, etc.

So here I share my response with you.

Two years ago I had no idea that technology could facilitate the kind of learning connections we will be talking about in the course.”Wild West” learning experiences from my home just 20 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts, US. For the Canadians out there, my father’s parents emigrated to Massachusetts from Prince Edward Island so that makes me half French Canadian. My mother’s parents came to Massachusetts from County Cork, Ireland – grandfather from Skibbereen and grandmother from Ballydehob, Ireland.(Where you’re from – done)

I figured “it’s about time I got academic about what’s happening with learning these days.” This course seemed like the place to do it. It’s free. The coordinators are experienced, knowledgeable – wise even!, and funny at times (could use more of that).

I’m also going to try and keep up with Alec’s (the distinguished Dr. Alec “Big Mac Rapper” Couros) online course while I’m transitioning from being and administrator back to being a teacher. See my post about it here. I teach two courses this fall/winter – thirty-five teachers signed up for one of the courses – yeah!, don’t have the participant count on the other one yet, and another course in the winter/spring. I’ll try to translate (and model) what I’ve learned over the last two-and-a-half years and what I’ll be learning this year for the elementary, middle school and high school teachers in Massachusetts, who have signed up because they know something important, revolutionary even, is happening to the way we can teacher and learn today.

(Why you’re interested in this course- done)

Success? Not really sure what it will look like, but I know I don’t want to just talk about it. I want to learn and do. Walk the talk. Practice what I preach. Be articulate and smart enough so the teacher in any grade who is willing to change can discover what to do differently. So I guess that means I hope everyone who reads this about me will connect with my learning on an academic (the course focus) and practical (my focus) level. Help me stay focused on the classroom in our schools. Help me remember how difficult teaching the children is today. Help me take what we learn and say, okay, now how can I best share my learning with the teachers in our schools? Help me to discover how, despite the obstacles that are all too familiar, we can teach learning better to all children. Because I think we are turning a corner. I used to work convince educators that the change is important; now, there are educators who are saying, okay, we agree, now help me learn what and how to do what I do in the classroom differently.

(What has to happen in order for you to consider this course a success – done)

I have been a teacher, administrator and superintendent in urban and suburban schools since 1970. Now I devote my time to learning, creating and teaching. I have an undergraduate degree in English from Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts, US, and graduate degrees from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury, Vermont and Harvard University’s School of Education, Cambridge, Massachusetts. I am passionate about teaching and learning topics such as leadership, the right to learn, risk taking, creativity, powerful learning experiences, professional learning communities, digital age communication, universal access to education, collective intelligence, the participatory-sharing culture of the Internet and Web 2.0, global climate change and contemporary poetry. I blog at innovation3 ( and and at Education Week’s LeaderTalk blog ( There is so much more about my journey over the last two year that is less random than I can speak about her, but you can find more at my innovation3 wiki (

(Random information about yourself -done)

Looking forward to the connections.


Dennis Richards

xxxxxxxxxxxxx (Wish there was a way of inserting a dividing line.)

Where is the University of Manitoba, Canada? In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Manitoba, Canada

Manitoba, Canada

Here’s a link to a series of videos about U of M.

Get educated: A video guide to The U of M

Get educated: A video guide to The U of M

Get educated: A video guide to The U of M

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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 »