Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Soap Box - A Backchanneling Tool for Tablets, Phones, and Laptops

Soap Box is a new service that enables teachers to gather instant feedback from students through their cell phones, tablets, or laptops. Soap Box offers nine useful functions for teachers and students. The video below offers an overview of all of the features. One of the features that grabbed my attention is the "confusion barometer" that allows students to state their status as either "I get it" or "I'm confused." Two other features that jumped out at me are the "smart filter" and the "profanity filter." The smart filter searches for similar questions in the backchannel to avoid duplicates. The profanity filter blocks inappropriate language from being posted in the backchannel.

Applications for Education
Soap Box is still in beta, but you can sign-up now to try it out. What makes it promising is that students can use a variety of devices to submit their feedback. If your school has a bring your device policy this could be the backchannel solution you need. Click here to read about how I've used backchannels in my history courses. Click here for my 2010 Reform Symposium keynote in which I talked about using backchannels in a variety of settings.