Communication and collaboration are important for students but we often forget that it is important for teachers, too! As teachers, it can be so easy to become an island. Often times, you will spend 6+ hours a day teaching students and rarely interacting with other adults. However, it is critical that teachers effectively communicate and collaborate with each other in order to grow as educators.
So, how can teachers communicate and collaborate with each other during the day? Or across campus? Or departments? Or sites? Or even the district?
As you can see, I started down this spiral of wondering…I started thinking about how we could increase the communication and collaboration on a small and large level. Then, I was introduced to Slack.
Slack is “a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services.” Basically, imagine a place where you can have conversations with your site/district/organization and filter them by specific channels. For instance, let’s say that I want to talk to all of the math teachers at my school site, I can simply join the #mathteachers channel. Or, maybe the site needs a #general channel to share updates with the staff. Let’s keep going…Maybe, there can be a #techtip channel to share educational technology tips with the staff.
Now, let me be clear – I have not used Slack in a school or district setting. I’m absolutely dying to try it out. Okay – that’s a bit dramatic, but I really want to use because I think that it could be amazing for the collaboration and communication among teachers, staff members and administrators.
Interested in learning more? Check out Slack’s tutorial video:
Here is the best news: There is a free version of Slack that I think would be completely feasible for school sites to use. Did you hear that? Free!
Initially, I think that it may be best to start this at a school site level. Over time, and if the free version of Slack has the bandwidth, it could be amazing to connect an entire district via Slack. This way, teachers at one site could easily collaborate with teachers at another site. Need more ideas for your content area? Ask in Slack! Have a fun lesson to share? Share it in Slack! The possibilities are endless!
Since I am continuing to spiral with ideas, here are some channel ideas that could be appropriate for school sites:
- #general = Share general updates with staff members.
- #mathteachers = Communicate with all math teachers on campus.
- #math7teachers = Communicate with all math 7 teachers on campus.
- #7thgrade = Communicate with all 7th grade teachers on campus.
- #emergency = In case of an emergency, quickly share updates with staff members.
- #techtips = Share technology tips.
- #kudos = Give kudos to staff members that are doing amazing things on campus.
- #bookclub = Create a digital book club for professional development.
And there are so many more ideas!
Like I mentioned, I have not used Slack in an educational setting…but I think that it could be an amazing way to increase communication and collaboration at a site and district level.
What methods do you use to communicate and collaborate at your school and/or district? Share in the comments below!