We've been teaching our kids about the dangers of internet chat rooms for (hopefully) a while now, given that we are promoting what we consider a safe and secure teacher controlled environment we thought it might be worthwhile to give some best practices around using our tool.
Roll call and student naming are important topics to understand.
We strongly suggest not using students full names, just their first name and perhaps an initial if multiple students share the same first name.
Once all the students have entered the backchannel, it's not a bad idea to do a quick roll call and make sure all students are using the tool properly.
If this is the first time the students have used the backchannel it's also not a bad idea to give them a couple of minutes to get the feel of the tool, let them post a single line comment (by typing and pressing enter), then a multi line comment (with shift+enter). Let them press the thumbs up to amplify a message.
We also find that once the students have had a few minutes to play around it helps them to get the 'silliness' out and settle into a constructive environment.
As a teacher, don't forget that once your ready to take control of the tool, you have the ability to remove unwanted posts as well as locking the room so that no messages get posted. Once your ready and prepared, you can open it up again for your students.
If you have any advice or suggestions, please feel free to comment below.
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