Thursday, January 13, 2011

Backchanneling Experiment

We tried something new today, using a "backchannel." A backchannel is an online discussion room that is set up as a meeting place so that students can have a discussion while something is being presented to them. In this case, we set up a backchannel while we watched a biographical documentary about the photographer Charles Moore. Moore was a photographer during the civil rights movement and his photos of Dr. King, the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, and more. His photos helped to sway public opinion, especially in the North, in favor of Dr. King.

So while we watched the movie, we discussed it in a chat room. Our conversation and the movie were happening simultaneously. It looked like this:

For a first try, I'd say it went really well. I helped drive the discussion while we went along by posting my own messages to the chat room and by pausing the video at a couple spots so everyone could catch up. There's certainly room for improvement. But this was a good activity for raising the level of our discussions and increasing critical thinking skills, and one we'll probably try again at various times throughout this year and next.

If you'd like to see a transcript of our discussion, click HERE.

And if you'd like to check out the movie about Charles Moore, you can find it at the bottom of this post. Hopefully you and your family are able to reflect upon the life of Dr. King this weekend. 

No comments: