This year, I’ve introduced Slack to our English department. Slack is a great tool for communication and collaboration with colleagues. It helps to reduce unnecessary emails, send direct/group messages and drag, drop and share files with your team. The platform is user friendly and operates very much like Twitter, with # and @ symbols to tag and link people to conversations. The best bit is that it’s free!
Why use Slack?
Sharing good practice, tweaking resources, arranging deadlines/meetings can be a pain in the neck to manage via email. Slack makes these processes much easier. Within our department, we often share PDF, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files. If you use services like Google Drive, Dropbox etc, just paste the link and that document is immediately in sync and searchable for all team members across all of their devices. Slack has many other integrations which can be installed and used within the app. Some of these include, Quip (document sharing and editing software), Google Hangouts, Wunderlist, Giphy, Twitter and more.
How do you set it up?
Setting up a team is easy. You are required to create a team name and invite members. Before you do, I would advise that you play the short official video ‘What is Slack?’ to your team so they get an idea of what it’s all about. Click the link below and have a look:
‘What is Slack?’ https://youtu.be/9RJZMSsH7-g
As you can see from my video posted on Twitter, I organised team members into class ‘channels’ – for example, all Year 8 teachers were assigned to ‘#year8’, Year 10 teachers to ‘#year10’ etc. The ‘general’ channel is used for team-wide announcements and general information.
How do you get it?
Once you’re invited, Slack can be accessed through your browser however, I prefer to use the Mac app. For ease of access, I usually keep the app open and running in the Dock. Nevertheless, Slack pushes notifications to your device(s) when someone posts to a channel so that you don’t miss anything.
Slack can be downloaded free on iPad, iPhone and Mac from the App Store.
Mac App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/slack/id803453959?mt=12
For us Slack has made sharing, communication and collaboration easy and is slowly helping us shape a strong teaching and learning culture.
Try it with your team!