Another dot in the blogosphere?

Using #todaysmeet at #bett2015

Posted on: February 3, 2015

As is my modus operandi when planning presentations, I also prepare backchannels. My latest integration of TodaysMeet was during my presentation on flipping at the BETT2015 conference on 23 January.

I did a rough poll of my 700-strong audience. Judging from the the hands that shot up when I asked how many liked passive talks, at least half were traditionalists.

My third slide included a QR code and URL to the backchannel. I was relieved that people actually stood up or stretched out to capture the QR code. Most others just typed in the URL I provided. At least one took the trouble to tweet the URL.

Here is the normal view of the backchannel and this is the transcript view.

I had hoped to use the backchannel a bit differently. I wanted to collect responses by sharing the backchannel URL at my BETT presentation page. I wanted to know if there were issues about flipping that I could address. I asked that question two weeks before my presentation, but there was no activity prior to my talk.

I removed that question shortly before the talk as there was little interest, fear of an unknown tool and strategy, or insufficient knowledge of content to ask questions. I replaced it with a generic “introduce yourself” statement.

When I went on stage, I discovered that I could not get ANY wifi connection. The place was so crowded that even the default access points that I had previously logged on to were either gone or unable to accommodate me. The 3G signal was so weak that it was pointless for me to tether with my jailbroken iPhone.

As a result, I could not quickly demonstrate how to use a backchannel.

But I did not need to. TodaysMeet was simple enough for the audience members to participate in the backchannel.

And participate they did. They asked questions and posted comments. They conversed with one another. They provided feedback even though I did not ask for it.

I kept my promise of answering all their questions and addressing their comments after I was done with my talk. Not immediately after as I had offline social engagements to manage first. But as soon as my last chat was over, I rushed to the speakers’ suite and let my fingers to the talking.

I cannot see any return to a traditional one-way talk. Practically all of the larger scale talks I have featured here and done since 2012 included a backchannel of some sort.

Backchannels keep me and my audience on our toes. They extend conversations beyond the time and scope of the presentation. Most importantly, they provide opportunities for more meaningful learning.

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