CF EdTech Newsletter

Trending EdTech News for the Month of October 2015

Digital Backchannels: Giving Every Student a Voice.

As we start our second month of the new school year we want to keep in mind how technology can open up classroom discussions and sparking new levels of student participation and engagement. A digital backchannel gives every student a voice and creates unique opportunities for participation that can enrich discussions. Consider the four ways to implement a backchannel with students, from Educational Leadership Magazine, May 2015.



  • Collaborative Conversations: Ask students what they found confusing in the previous night's homework. While teacher addresses these spoken concerns, other students are using their mobile devices to ask questions and make comments. The teacher encourages students to answer on another's question in the backchannel when possible. The teacher can skim comments and questions and see which topics the whole group needs covered.
  • Parallel Discussions: Students in the inner circle of a fish bowl discussion debate a topic, while students in the outer circle observe the discussion. The students in the outer circle are summarizing, commenting on, and adding to the conversation using a shared backchannel chatroom. The teacher will occasionally bring a backchannel conversation to the inner circle. This keeps all students engaged during a debate.
  • Interactive Notes: Students can summarize the readings or videos they had to complete/watch for homework and/or add questions about the assignment on a backchannel. This way it becomes a frontchannel chat that the teacher can use questions from to direct his instruction.
  • Formative Assessment: Students can summarize to the teacher in the backchannel what the day's lesson was about and use as an exit ticket out of class. The student responses helps the teacher know what needs to be reviewed for the next class.


Here at Colonial Forge we have a backchannel chat room that you can use with students anytime. It is called www.backchannelchat.com. Please see your iTRT for the log in information and how to set up a chat.

Is your classroom Student-Centered of Teacher-Centered?

The question of is your classroom Student-Centered or Teacher-Centered still applies when using technology. Use this link to the inforgraphic/article by Amy Mayer from friEdTechnology.com to make sure our students are being active learners or the "doers" in your classroom.
Educational Grant Opportunities

This is the biggest list of grant opportunities for Educators. A list you will come back to again and again.

September Ed Tech All Stars: Celebrating Teachers' Ed Tech Use at CFHS

Krista Wood: Each student in the Algebra Readiness class has an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) based on their needs as determined by several pre-assessments. Students work on their ILP's through Khan Academy. Khan Academy is an online learning university that tailors each student's learning to what they need. Students begin by answering a few questions in a mastery challenge. If they answer all questions correctly, then the program will introduce a few more concepts while continuing practice with the current concept. As students eventually get to a concept they do not know how to do, Khan Academy offers instructional videos, and text lessons to help the student learn the material. Students have the power to work on what they need to, and through a few problems show mastery of concepts they already know. In very little time, Khan Academy pin points exactly what each student needs to master. Our Algebra Readiness class works on their ILP in class using Chromebooks, ipads, or their cell phones. During this time, I am able to have a conference with every student to discuss their progress. As their coach, I am able to make recommendations of lessons based on how they are performing on in class activities.


Robert Garfield and Amanda Fludd: Used Kahoot.it to survey students on the first day of school with fun icebreaker questions. We are also using it to practice and review lab safety procedures plus the scientific process.

Trending this Month @CFTech1

Follow Colonial Forge Technology on Twitter @CFTech1 to get the latest on Ed Tech News.

1) Google Classroom help and tips

2) Classroom One Note

3) #SCPSpowerup

Professional Development Offerings for this Fall

Beyond a Google Doc: Using Google to become a Student Centered Classroom

Participants will learn about how to use Google Classroom which will allow for more student-centered collaboration and classroom organization for an online environment. Participants will also learn how to use their teacher YouTube Channels to help students be successful in their subject area. This PD is for intermediate and advanced Google Drive users and is COMPLETELY Online.


BYOD Power Up Sessions

Participants will learn about different formative and summative assessment tools for their Power Up Teacher Tool Kit. These are tools that teachers can use with student owned devices. Each Month will be a new tool for the Power Up Teacher Tool Kit. Participants will have to go to at least one session during the 1st Semester and then at least two sessions during the 2nd Semester.


See mylearningplan.com for more details.