How to Set Up a Free Backchannel

Published On: November 25th, 2016·By ·

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Are you looking for an online space for students to collaborate with each other? Why not try a free backchannel?

How to Set Up a Free Backchannel

Set up a free backchannel discussion with TodaysMeet.

Check out the video above as SimpleK12 technology trainer Monica Burns shares how to create a free backchannel with TodaysMeet. It's so easy to get started with this tool, Monica covers all the basics in under 3 minutes.

TodaysMeet is an online backchannel tool that allows you to create a virtual discussion space (called a Room) for your students to use. This is something you could have students use in a variety of ways, but the term “backchanneling” implies that you'd be using the virtual chat room while there is an ongoing lecture or face-to-face event going on, as well. Students can write down their notes, ideas, or questions live during the presentation.

Monica explains how you can use this free backchannel with your students, and save a record of your backchannel when you're finished.

One of my favorite things about backchanneling is it gives all students an equal voice in your classroom. Students have a variety of personalities, and some are more prone to raise their hands and speak up in class, while others may sit silently with their thoughts. Other students may have a natural tendency to have a dominating presence, no matter how you try to facilitate an equal platform. Providing an online backchannel is one way to offer another format for students to contribute to class discussions.

For more on facilitating communication with students, I recommend the Communication Toolkit. This online course contains videos that discuss strategies, tools, ideas, and suggestions for improved communication for both students and teachers. Discover how to help your students improve speaking and listening skills, as well as how to facilitate productive class discussions, collaborative online chats, and enhanced written communication. Hear about ways to communicate with other classes and outside speakers, such as authors or subject matter experts. Learn fun ice-breaking strategies that help learners of all ages get to know each other better and encourage better communication. In addition, you will also explore effective ways that you can communicate with parents and students using time-saving tools and websites.

Do you think your students would enjoy using a backchannel in your classroom? Share your thoughts on a comment on this article.

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About Our “Set Up a Free Backchannel” Presenter
Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Monica works with teachers to make technology integration exciting and accessible at all grade levels. She has conducted well over 40 unique training sessions for SimpleK12, click here to take a look at more videos from Monica.

About the Author
Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for She writes frequently about education topics, and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at

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