The Educause Learning Initiative has a fantastic “7 things you should know about” piece on Google Jockeying. I’d never heard of this practice before. Basically, it involves designating one student during a class to act as the “Google Jockey.” The jockey “surfs the Internet for terms, ideas, or Web sites mentioned by the presenter or related to the topic at hand. A screen displays the jockey’s searches for all participants to see.”
The practice allows for spontaneous development of a topic in class based on what the jockey can dig up. And the ELI handout suggests, the practice might result in a “true ‘back channel’ taking place as a corollary to the primary lecture without affecting it directly.” This is the kind of back channel activity that I was really hoping to foster in Steve Greenlaw’s globalization class. I wonder how we could use the shoutbox we set up in that class to formalize this kind of practice and channel it into something more meaningful. . .