Patrick just wrote about the “dangers” of using tools like back channel chats or micro-blogging during class time. For the most part, I do agree with him. However, I will add my piece as I do feel it provides us with a good opportunity to reach a subset of students and help differentiate. I will also expand on why it is also debatable after the break
The seemingly sarcastic graphic actually supports my point. I remember my time in school and had many situations where I wanted to ask a question but was too embarrassed, shy or afraid of messing up. My questions would be left unanswered. Eventually I got better but still experience it n groups that I may not be comfortable with, such as in a big audience or the first day in a seminar.
I feel that having a tool that would allow me to post a question right away when it comes up is a great opportunity for teachers to hit upon points that students would be too fearful, shy or tentative to bring up.
How about students with speech impediments like stutters, bad lisps, or who are simply not comfortable with the language of the classroom? Having a tool at hand to pose a question or make a statement would include them in the discussion/process.
Yes, it may be a crutch and we may not be teaching them to persevere despite their perceived shortcomings. But we are helping them get their questions answered and have their opinions heard.
Patrick makes a very good point about the inability for most people to be able to multi-task effectively. Having back channel tools on hand on devices such as the iPad or a laptop provide a slew of distractions.
Solutions: A super cheap, one function mobile device that allows people to post questions/comments visible by the teacher will solve a few issues. There will be no distractions or side chats. Students walk into classroom or auditorium and grab a pre-charged BlackBerry-like device. Teacher has access to screen that labels questions and comments for inclusion. Device is plugged in on the way out. But can you restrict use of other devices like laptops that students may use to take notes?
How do you guys feel about this topic? Please chime in below in the comments sections