Jeffrey Carpenter authors article on digital backchanneling

Jeffrey Carpenter, assistant professor of education and director of the Teaching Fellows program, published the article in the journal Educational Leadership.

Carpenter’s article, titled “Digital Backchannels: Giving Every Student a Voice” appears in the journal’s May 2015 issue. The article describes the use of technology to invite more students to participate in classroom discussions. Educational Leadership is the flagship publication of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and has a print circulation of 160,000.

From the journal website:

When educators hear “classroom discussion,” they tend to think of spoken discourse managed by the teacher. But now, mobile technology enables teachers to widen discussions through digital backchannels–online interactive spaces that run parallel to the spoken conversation. In this article, Jeffrey P. Carpenter shows how teachers can use the digital backchannel to engage all students. For example, while a class orally reviews students’ questions about the previous night’s homework, students use their mobile devices to contribute more questions and comments in a chat room. Or in fishbowl discussion of a text, some students participate orally while others post notes and questions in a coauthored Google doc; the teacher brings the most interesting of these backchannel contributions into the spoken discussion. Carpenter addresses the challenges of juggling frontchannel and backchannel discussions, but asserts that the benefits include bringing in more perspectives, opening the conversation beyond the few students who usually dominate spoken discussions, and extending learning beyond the classroom.

See also Carpenter’s presentation on the topic of digital backchannels from this past summer’s Elon Teaching and Learning Conference here.