Hacking the Backchannel-Hack Learning Podcast

Hacking the Backchannel: Inspired Learning in the Digital World

Jennifer Hogan tells Hack Learning creator Mark Barnes about her initial experience with the backchannel, which it turns out she may have unwittingly created decades ago.

Hogan, an Alabama principal, #USedchat co-founder and global education consultant, conducted an online chat with her students using, get this, an old AOL chat room, where she discovered some amazing things about teaching and learning in the digital world.

In this Hack Learning Podcast episode, Hogan explains how that AOL chat turned a shy kid into a classroom star, and she shares two examples of using modern backchannels in today’s classroom.

Not sure how to use a backchannel for teaching and learning? Hogan reveals this too–all in under 10 minutes.

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Quick Takeaways

  1. The backchannel is an online space, like a social network or online chatroom, where learners can converse about any subject asynchronously.
  2. Teachers can use backchannels to encourage participation from all stakeholders, including reluctant learners.
  3. The best place to learn more about backchannels is on a backchannel like Twitter; learn more at #HackLearning.

Talk to us

Find Jennifer Hogan on Twitter @jennifer_hogan and on her website here.

Tell us how you are using backchannels to inspire learning in a digital world, in our comment section below.

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By the way, if you leave a review on iTunes today, we’ll send you a free copy of the Hack Learning Series book of your choice. Learn more here.

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Image credit: eFest / Teaching & Learning Conference via photopin (license)

power of periscope-Hack Learning

Hack Learning 101: The Power of Periscope

Are you teaching and learning with Periscope? If not, you may be missing out on one of the most powerful tools for personal and professional growth.

In this edition of Hack Learning 101, Hack Learning creator and social media guru Mark Barnes provides some super quick tips (about 101 seconds) for improving teaching and learning with Periscope–Twitter’s live, interactive video streaming tool.

Getting started with Periscope

1 – Download the app: Periscope is in your app store and is, of course, free.

2 – Connect with your Twitter account: You can use your phone number if you don’t have a Twitter account (why would you not use Twitter?). Connecting Periscope with Twitter enables you to stream your videos live to not only your Periscope audience, which may be small or even non-existent at first, but to your Twitter feed. That’s right, people can view your Periscope videos on Twitter while you’re producing them, or they can see them in your Twitter feed feed later. Do you even realize how crazy powerful this is?

3 – Produce a short video: Sure, it’s a bit scary at first; you’re about to send a video into cyberspace for the world to see. Start small. Record a brief selfie video (tap the screen on your device and you’ll have the option to flip the camera, so it’s on your face). Introduce yourself and provide one useful or entertaining piece of content. Pull down on your screen to end your broadcast.

4 – Use a hashtag: Like Twitter, Periscope will send your broadcast to a hashtag on Twitter. Why not add #HackLearning to your Periscope video title (don’t forget to type your title into your broadcast), and we’ll see your amazing production.

Periscope gives teachers and learners the opportunity to share video of anything live, while narrating the action. Consider what you might do with the power of Periscope, and tell us about it in the comment section below.

And, of course, share your Periscope video with us on Twitter at #HackLearning.

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Subscribe to the Hack Learning Podcast on your favorite device today, and remember to leave a quick review. Your opinion matters.

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Share your thoughts in our comment section below, and remember to tell a friend about the Hack Learning Podcast.

Teachers Guide to Tech

Hacking Education Technology: So Many Tools, So Little Time

The problem with technology is there is so much of it. Sure, lots of EdTech can be a good thing, but when we’re faced with hundreds of websites and mobile apps, how can people who are not tech gurus know what works and what doesn’t?

In the Hack Learning podcast episode embedded above, longtime educator, author, and creator of the Teacher’s Guide to Tech, Jennifer Gonzalez, discusses the difficulties presented by a constantly-evolving and growing mountain of technology.

Teachers Guide to Tech

The interactive Teachers Guide to Tech

The main problem teachers and learners have with effectively using EdTech is time. — Jennifer Gonzalez

The key to success in EdTech is knowing where to find the technology and, as Jennifer Gonzalez suggests, locating the right tools for your class activities and then giving those tools a try.

In her Teacher’s Guide to Tech, Gonzalez organizes the best EdTech tools into over 30 education categories, eliminating the need for research, which is the time-eating monster that can make the technology seem overwhelming. Check out some of the categories and tools Gonzalez includes in her tech guide below.

Some of What’s Inside The Teacher’s Guide to Tech

Book Publishing




Classroom Management

Class Charts



Stick Pick

Too Noisy

Cloud Storage


Google Drive

Feedback Tools

Google Drive


Microsoft Word

Flashcard Creators



Flipped Learning







Join the conversation

What tools are you using to engage learners and to make education fun? Please share your favorite tools in our comment section below.

You can connect with Jennifer Gonzalez on Twitter @cultofpedagogy and on her popular website, CultOfPedagogy.com.

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Subscribe to the Hack Learning Podcast on your favorite device today, and remember to leave a quick review. Your opinion matters.

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Hack learning with Twitter

Hacking Connected Education

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Two popular connected educators discuss the problem of the unconnected educator and share some Right-Now strategies for helping them plug in to incredible professional development on Twitter.

This is Hacking Connected Education. Please share your own ideas for helping unconnected educators get plugged in.

Hacking Digital Citizenship

A simple tweeted picture ignited an ongoing conversation about education technology and its place in schools.

Should we ban mobile devices in classrooms? Should we strengthen network filters? Or should we teach kids boundaries? Hack Learning creator and author of Teaching the iStudent Mark Barnes provides two simple steps for improvement.

Click image to find your EdTech Mission

This is Hacking Digital Citizenship.

Please share your thoughts on the podcast and ways to hack digital citizenship in our comment section, on Twitter at #HackLearning.