Backchannel Chat

Digital Citizen


Backchannel Chat is a safe chatting platform for classroom teachers and students. Students can immediately start powerful conversations after the teacher has created the room and given them the code. Participants can learn from each other and share their insights, improving participation and deepening learning. Backchannel Chat is great for capturing student notes for remediation or to share with those unable to attend class. 

Students will:

  • Be able to collaborate with each other with meaningful conversation while being a positive digital citizen.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Backchannel Chat:  A backchannel chat is the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside the primary group activity or live spoken remarks.

To prepare for this lesson:


  • The transcripts can be downloaded to use and share with students. 
  • As a free user of Backchannel Chat, they will keep your data for three months.
  • YouTube videos can be embedded when chatting. 

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. The teacher introduces Backchannel Chat to the students.

  2. The teacher explains the many different ways that it can be used in the classroom. 

  3. The teacher logins to Backchannel Chat.

  4. The teacher names the room.

  5. The teacher opens the room and gives the student the URL or code initiated by Backchannel Chat. 

  6. The students will type in their names. (Tell them it has to be their real name and it must be appropriate.)

  7. Begin conversation.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • The teacher can use the transcript feature to see student participation.
  • The teacher can use Backchannel Chat as a formative assessment.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Digital Citizen
2a. Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.
2b. Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.
2c. Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
2d. Students manage their personal data to maintain digital privacy and security and are aware of data-collection technology used to track their navigation online.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:

Backchannel Chat

Backchannel Chat: A Tutorial and Teaching Suggestion

How to use Backchannel Chat A guide for teachers



The students learn good note taking skills. 

Use for math discussion and or questioning.

The students can have group discussions based on current topic.

The students can have group discussions based on current topic.

This task card was created by Julie Hoehing, Lake Shore Public Schools, April 2018. Updated May 2022.