Technology for Teaching


A backchannel is “…a line of communication created by people in an audience to connect with others inside or outside the room, with or without the knowledge of the speaker at the front of the room. Usually facilitated by Internet technologies, it is spontaneous, self-directed, and limited in time to the duration of a live event.” (Cliff Atkinson in The Backchannel)

Canvas Chat*

The Chat tool in Canvas allows students and teachers to interact in real time. Chat makes it easy to communicate with your students in real time, all in one place.

While the Canvas Chat tool does not allow for the creation of rooms, the chats are associated with a date.

Device Agnostic

Today’s Meet

TodaysMeet helps harness the backchannel and turn it into a platform that can enable new activities and discussions, extend conversations beyond the classroom, and give all students a voice.” (TodaysMeet website).

Device Agnostic

Twitter *

Twitter allows users to post questions, responses to questions, share resources, opinions, news and personal updates via various devices (cell phones, laptops) in 140 characters or less. These posts are called Tweets and usually reference a particular topic using a hashtag. (Example: #telehealth)

Twitter lets users create connections and develop networks of contacts and resources as well.

Device Agnostic


Facebook is a social media site with the mission “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” (Quote from Facebook’s Facebook page.)

Device Agnostic


The following are a list of references about the use of backchannels in teaching and learning.

*Tools that appear with an asterisk are commonly used at the Geisel School of Medicine.