How to improve school communication using Slack : Fizzics Education


How to improve school communication using Slack

How to improve school communication using Slack

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school collaboration using slack
Who wouldn’t want to improve collaboration?

  • Overflowing email inbox?
  • Sick of sorting messages?
  • Need a quick, simple & communication tool?
  • Slack will help… and its free!

Anyone who thinks that a school is easy to run most likely hasn’t worked in one!

It’s no wonder teachers have little time to eat their lunch considering the never-ending list of demands placed on them. Apart from keeping yourself organised (I recommend Trello for that by the way) you still have to work with your fellow teachers on shared project-based learning tasks, planning excursions, coordinating resources, meetings and much more. This can be quite hard when you only see your fellow staff members as you rush into the staff room for a quick bite to eat before heading out to lunch duty! As a result, many teachers have an overflowing inbox of emails from their fellow staff which they have to sort through themselves as well as personal phones jam-packed with text message conversations that can easily get buried.

Thankfully there are many education apps that can make all the above much easier to deal with and one that just might change the game in your staff room could be Slack. This messaging app exploded onto the scene as a solution for busy teams needing a quick solution that could replace emailing and text messages into a unified area where quick messages between staff could be sorted into specific channels as they’re being sent… dramatically reducing the time needed to wade through messages for that all-important urgent one.

Imagine how useful this could be in your school! No longer do you have to sort & catalogue your messages into folders for future reference as this is already done for you by the messenger and more importantly, everyone in your school can contribute to these team discussions using any device, effectively creating a highly accessible in-house forum that just works.

You can quickly check the channels that impact upon you the most as well send direct private messages to one or more of your fellow teachers too. Where Slack can really help your education team is the option to integrate the online storage app Dropbox and project management tool Trello to Slack, allowing your education staff to really work effectively together on important projects. The effect of implementation? No more inbox clutter increased staff communication & better coordination of resources… and the free version of Slack does what most teachers would want anyway! Sounds like a win to me 🙂

So, are you curious to try Slack out for your staff? It can be quite easy to deploy on your smartphone, tablet and computer, it’s just a matter of taking the time to set up the basics.

Downloand the app.

Visit Slack on the web, on iTunes, or on Google Play.

Next, create a login to set up your team

You’ll need to authenticate who you are using your email address.

Set up the team name you’ll use

Create a new slack team

Name yourself and join your team

Put your name in Slack

… and you’re in!

When you first enter the Slack dashboard you’ll find an option to explore Slack with their tutorials (you can also find guides to Slack here). What you will notice is the option to enable desktop notifications if you’re using a computer – this can be handy to have on if you want to monitor information flowing amongst your team.

web domain for team slack channels
(Close view of the image)

On the left-hand side of the app, you can see that you already have been set up with two channels “general” & “random”. You can now start adding multiple channels such as ‘grade 1 science resources’ or ‘grade 5 mountain excursion’ and invite people to join Slack to whichever channels you think they need to be involved in. You can describe each channel’s purpose when you set it up as well.

The slack welcome screen with a waving hand saying hi
(Close view of the image)

.. and after adding a few channels

Channels created in the slack team
(Close view of the image)

It’s so quick to get going!

At this point it’s just a matter of using the app by sending messages back and forth between your education team (the more the better!). Very soon you’ll find yourself using email and text less and less as Slack becomes the go-to place for communication. As always, change management is always an issue for any team and so it would be worth you getting a few of your close teaching colleagues on board with the app first to try it out and work out how you best want to use it. That way you can be more likely of creating enthusiasm with the rest of your staff room if people can see it working and how it’ll help give time back in their already stretched schedules.

Primary school teachers testing out some electrical equipment

Even though Slack is a great solution for working together, no doubt your school already has a communication system in place and such there could be people who will want to stay with the old ways of doing things. Don’t worry though, in time they will see how much more effective you’ll have become with your time and will want to join in too (especially when they see you can add silly random .gif videos in channels just for fun!). No worries if Slack is not for you though. What matters is that hopefully, this article has allowed you to think how communication is currently managed in your education team – perhaps it’s time to review it?

Happy teaching,

Ben Newsome.

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