Slack for Teachers

So, it’s been a week and already I’m doing a terrible job of updating… Anyway, I thought I would briefly share about a project that I worked on this year that utilized Slack.

I was looking for a way to create a community of practice program for interested teachers where we could collaborate, support, and learn from one another (more on this possibly in a future post). Throughout the year, we met bi-weekly during lunch to discuss pedagogy, seek advice, and share what was going on in our classrooms. I also wanted a way for us to stay in touch outside of these face to face meetings, so we used the messaging tool Slack. In doing so, we were able to easily communicate and often the conversations that occurred there informed our lunch sessions. Some of the channels that were set up included articles, international students, learning differences, and tech tools. One of my favorite channels to see active was pop-ins where people would post cool things they were doing in their class and invite others to stop by.

It was easy to use, nicely organized, and felt refreshingly informal. It was great to be able to post a question or idea and get feedback from colleagues in different departments. One teacher shared that it was “my way of walking around the building”.  In the second semester, I started thinking about other ways to use Slack and tried it out with a group of students in our Social Justice club. The kids who used it liked it, but it was hard to get teenagers to check something else for school that wasn’t Snapchat and it ultimately fizzled out. Recently, I discovered that there are educator groups that you can join and I’ve just started to experiment with them. Having abandoned nearly all other social media, I love the idea of educators from around the world sharing their experiences with one another. So far, I have joined SlackEDU and Flip Learning. If you know of others, I would love to hear about them.

I’ve really enjoyed Slack as a collaborative tool and now need to figure how to use it in my new position. One of the things that was nice for teachers about this project was that it was exclusively a teacher group. This allowed for conversations to be more relaxed and honest than a regular faculty meeting with administrators involved. It was also a voluntary group, which made a big difference. Things to think about…

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