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Use a Backchannel Tool to Increase Student Participation

Posted on 11/14/2019

University lecture room.Image by Nikolay Georgiev from Pixabay

How can you get more students in your class, not just the most vocal or the students who are always raising their hands, to participate in classroom discussions? Consider using a backchannel tool in your class to increase student participation and check for understanding.

A backchannel tool is a feedback and participation mechanism running in the background while you are teaching and managing your classroom. There are a number of advantages to using a backchannel tool, including:

  • Giving quieter or shyer students the chance to ask questions and share their comments and ideas during discussions.

  • Giving students a space to express their personal opinions, which they might not want to say out loud.

  • Sometimes students need more time to formulate a response to a question – a backchannel creates a space for students to contribute once they have completed their thoughts.

  • A backchannel can extend a conversation after class is over, when students are at home or away from school.

  • A teacher can use a backchannel tool to do formative assessment during class time.

There are a number of backchannel tools to try out in class.

Backchannel tools can increase student participation in class and give a voice to those students who you don’t hear from. Try a backchannel tool and get your students involved!

Article: 'Backchannel' Tools Let Students Ask Questions Anonymously. And That Brings More Voices. from EdSurge

Article: 5 reasons to use backchannels and 3 tools from NNLM

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