But, even though everyone agrees, this skill seems to somehow get lost with all of the other obligations we have in the classroom. Here are some easy ways to incorporate digital communication in your classroom.
If you have not used a backchannel while attending a lecture or seminar, backchannels are a way for participants to interact with the main conversation simultaneously. Like an encouraged form of passing notes in class, except for the fact that all these notes are posted in a forum and directly related to the day’s seminar or lecture.
TodaysMeet is one such example. Before the lecture, workshop, or seminar, access the site and name your “room” and select how long the data should be stored. This creates your very own URL that you can share with attendees who can then access a very clean chat screen to comment.
It’s that simple. No accounts to create, no passwords to remember. And the best part is that anyone can access a transcript to remember what has been discussed (or keep track of student participation or…ahem…appropriate and on-task comments.)
Padlet is a dynamic way for students to brainstorm and collect ideas for a project. Acting like a virtual bulletin board, this online app allows users to create digital sticky notes and arrange them on the canvas.
Part of the beauty of this application is that users don’t need to create an account, although opting to create one provides additional features like being able to post to the wall for more than 24 hours and toggle back and forth between different walls.
In discussing online communication tools, it’s hard not to also include a concept map. We use them so much in education to help students to brainstorm and think through their ideas, so it seems only natural to include one on our list.
The concept map that I like the best is MindMapfree. MindMapfree is, as it states, free. It is also completely online with no login required (or even offered).
This application is easy enough for younger students to grasp quickly and robust enough for older students to add all of the elements they need.