One of the reasons this went so well is that I used focus browsing in Hapara. The only site my students could have open was the chat. I was also able to put anyone who was off task in a time out. The could still see the chat, but they could not participate in it. I was not moderating every single post because I thought it was more important for me to be able to ask questions of my students and post answers to their questions as we went alone.
There are lots of backchannel chat apps out there, but I selected Backchannelchat because it has so many benefits! View this chart to see how Backchannelchat stacks up to its competitors. I also opted to pay a small fee to upgrade because some of the features offered at that level are important to me. I like the idea being able to set the room up so that students will not be able to post unless I'm in there. I also like idea of students being able to share files. I also appreciate having the ability to download the entire transcript of the chat as a PDF. I can also quickly see how many times each student posted.
My students enjoyed this activity. It allowed students who normally are quiet to have a voice. Backchannel chats are also good for students who are still getting used to keyboarding. I have found when students type with a purpose they are able to do it more quickly and accurately.
If you would like help setting up backchannelchat in your classroom just let me know. As of right now it is the only chat app we can use here in our district.