Have you been searching for an easy way to create and monitor classroom “teams”? Slack may be the app that can help make this happen. Slack can bring classroom team communication and collaboration into one place. In addition, the instructor can participate in and monitor the group activity.
Employer’s and recent college graduates have informed us that we need to increase the number of team activities within our courses. As educators, we tend to focus on individual student grades and grading group activities can be difficult. As a result, new graduates can be unprepared for the large amount of team activities and projects that are imbedded into daily activities within many organizations. A bonus to using Slack in your classroom is that Slack already has a market presence in many organizations where team activity is vital to their success. Therefore, it is an easy transition for students to utilize the same technology tools in their future jobs that they used in the classroom.
When using Slack in the classroom, each group will be assigned their own “team” channel. The channel tracks the conversation and progress of the group activity or project. Having access to the “team” channel aids in grading student contributions to the activity or project. Also, Slack has migrated from being only a communication tool into a community platform. Slack has the functionality of a message board and social media tool. Furthermore, it is easy to set up topic channels and have students provide input for the class topics that interest them. Slack provides all your team communication in one place. You can instantly search key words or topics and the information in available on any device. Slack can be used from a computer or mobile apps compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
In addition, most organizations that utilize Slack have created some best practice rules of engagement for their team members. Best practices might include: emphasizing appropriate behavior that will be read by others, no gifs, and setting snooze or do not disturb options when team members are unavailable. There are many options available to choose from, but you will need to determine what will work best for your team structure.
Best of all, the “free” version of Slack works well for the classroom environment. To learn more about the many features of Slack and to set up your free Slack account, visit https://slack.com/features.
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