Backchannel Chat in the Clasroom
Sarah Sutter and Deb Taylor
Presentation 5/6/09 for MLTI Spring Conference Online: Pictures Sounds Numbers Words

The tools below are all free or have free versions (sometimes there is a subscription fee for additional features), and other than iChat they are available for Mac or Windows and often Linux machines.


CoverItLive: Live blogging tool that can be used for moderated classroom chat environment; no account necessary, embeddable in a site- no email invite
Chatzy: Requires the creator of the chat to email those who are going to participate to get access

Tools that require students to have accounts to participate:
Twitter : Requires a student to have an account, and the stream would need to be aggregated with a hashtag
Google chat: a feature within GMail, if students have a GMail account.
Google Presentation : Google Docs component: chat in the sidebar - allows those with Google Docs to share a published or shared presentation and use the chat feature. If students don't have an account, the originator of the presentation can publish the presentation

Tools that require a download / program to run on your computer
iChat : on mac laptops you have access to iChat which can be used as a chat, but students must have an AIM or mac login
Skype : also voice, but easy text chat if students have the program installed on their laptops and have a Skype ID

**Chat Comparison table** by Scott Snyder

Additional Resources:

K12 Online Conference :Backchannel Chat Session by Scott Snyder (Link here the full content of the 2008 K12OnlineConference)
Integrating Tech : Scott Snyder's blog with lots of reviews of various backchannel tools
Scott Snyder's Integrating Tech Wikispace of resources for Backchannel Chat
Jennifer Maddrell's paper on Backchannel Chat and it's effect on cognitive load
The New Atlantis article by Christine Rosen: The Myth of Multitasking

K-12 Classroom Examples from others:

Teach Paperless blog post by R. Richard Wojewodzki : Live Blogging a Twitter-Enhanced Latin Test

Our 9-12 Student examples:

Using a chat as a collaborative note taking tool :

Student responses during a peer presentation - students in Maine and in NY sharing slides via Google Presentation and Skype for audio for the presenter to be heard.

Collaborative Story Telling: In this case in French


Asking Questions and making observations during a video presentation in class


Here's your chance to try it out - jump in when we go live!
We'll be screen sharing our view to share the moderation options.

Additional Information that came up during the presentation 5/6/09