Ok, so what do we call it if not Backchannel Bouncer

The ustream/ backchannel work in the sessions last week far exceeded my expectations (see Diane Hammond‘s kind post.) I used a ustream for audio (and a little vid if they wanted to see me) — and a Google presentation. (See my wiki for more info.) Before the session started, I went live with the ustream, greeted the guests, and then began!

What's in a name?

So, here is the question — what should we call the person (or people) assigned to monitor the backchannel. Several of you have commented that you just hate the term “backchannel bouncer” — I hate the term “Google jockey” as noted in the Wikipedia article about the backchannel.

It needs to convey a person who is helpful but also is responsible for overseeing the environment in the backchannel as well as “bouncing back” what is happening in there to the speaker. In fact, in the blogging session, Cheryl Oakes AND Michael Richards played this role.

I want to appoint this person in my classroom every time we do a google pres.

Asking the Backchannel

I stopped at several predetermined points and said

“What is the backchannel saying right now?”

And if there were any important questions they couldn't answer, they asked me.

I'll never present again without a backchannel. It is just way way too useful. (again see Diane's thoughts, I echo her sentiments.)

So before we go too viral with a term most people seem to hate — what are your suggestions for what we call it?

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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mrichme October 15, 2007 - 10:20 pm


I’ve got it: Backchannel Belaying. Belaying is a term used in climbing as the process of supporting the climber through the control of a rope. This analogy applies in the backchannel where the person is supporting the followers and the presenter as they navigate through the presentation. I felt that’s what I was doing for your presentation on Thursday.

I hope you like this term.

Let the blogosphere have it.

Cathy Nelson October 15, 2007 - 11:55 pm

During BLC someone (Jakes or McIntosh) identified themselves as the rudder who kept the skypechat on topic. Even though that was but a few months ago, amazingly it seems so one-way now. Yes, we definitely need a term–ow about “digital chauffer.” ??? Afterall they drive our comments in by making the presenters aware… Still has a degrading sound though. What about electronic session coordinator?

David Truss October 16, 2007 - 3:49 am

Thanks for the comment, and the insight! I see the value in a backchannel, but did not like the over-analysis I was seeing of it in Ustream after the fact… what I failed to recognize is that people are still playing with this new tool and testing the ‘boundaries’. Again, thanks for your insight.

My suggestion is ‘Backchanneller’ … the person that ‘channels’ the passage of information from the backchannel. It makes for a very long word, but the double entendre with the word ‘channel’ works well.

shaggyhill October 26, 2007 - 3:00 am

It would be pretty cool to have a back channel in a classroom.

We did podcasts with the mayoral candidates this month. We had a back channel going and one of the three interviewers jobs was to monitor it with her laptop. She picked questions off of it to ask the mayor and took advice from it throughout the interview. It was really neat. Instead of just three very nervous interviewer kids trying to follow the words of the mayor and ask follow-up questions and pay attention to the time, etc, etc, there were 24. The questions were great because a kid in the audience could pause on a statement, think about it, and then send in a follow-up. Whereas an interviewer, especially at this age, tends to ask a follow-up question about the last part of a statement.
Cool Blog! First time commentor here. Does that make me a cool kitten?

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