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Friday, October 25, 2013

Introduction to Chatterous a web tool for back-channeling

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices, and demonstrate how these best practices can be applied in the real (i.e. physical) and virtual (i.e. online) classroom for both teaching and teacher training. The combination of face to face instruction in a physical setting and online learning is called blended learning. In this section of the blog we will describe how the internet can serve as a supplemental resource for instruction and the mentoring of pre-service and in-service Jewish educators. In this post we will begin our discussion on how Chatterous, a web tool for back-channeling (see definition below) can be used for Judaic instruction and the mentoring/teaching of pre-service and in-service Jewish educators. 

Assumption: The teacher or mentor teacher has an interactive white board (i.e. SMART Board, Promethean, etc.), a Tablet PC (also called a Slate or Blade), a computer presenter or computer with internet access attached to an LCD projector in the classroom. It would be ideal if students or mentees had access to their own laptop computers or Ipads. Given parental and school approval, and the development of specific guidelines, smartphones can be used to enhance instruction as well.

Note: Although Chatterous can be applied in the Judaic Studies blended learning classroom, it can be also be used for training pre-service and in-service Jewish educators for professional or staff development. It is our hope that Jewish educators around the globe will form an online community of practice, a CoP, a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession, to enhance the delivery of instruction and training of Jewish educators. For example, here is a CoP you might want to join. 

Note: Chatterous can be used in a face to face and virtual classroom.

What is Chatterous?

Chatterous is a web tool for back-channelling.

What is Back-channeling?

From an instructional perspective back-channeling is a secondary method to transmit feedback from a student or a group of students to a teacher. In a face to face classroom environment, students might be invited to pose questions or comments from some web tool like Today’sMeet or Chatzy. Typically during a webinar the back-channeling method for communicating is via texting in the chat box.

In a classroom, there would be two methods of communication running simultaneously. The predominant channel is the main tool that is used to communicate information. The secondary channel (aka the back-channel) is for the listener to provide assessments, questions, thoughts on the information being presented, usually to reflect listener comprehension or interest.

For example, students may be watching a video, but back-channel their reactions, thoughts, and questions about the video through an alternate method of communication which can be broadcast in the classroom, such as through a twitter feed.

Where is  Chatterous located on the internet?

Where can I find tutorials demonstrating how to use Chatterous?

Click on the links below to find tutorials on using Chatterous:

On the next post we will discuss how the web-based back-channeling tool, Chatterous, can be used to promote instruction including Judaic instruction in the blended learning classroom. 

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