Using Slack for PE Department Communication

We all know the power of collaboration, however, the reality is that many of the tools people use to collaborate are poorly designed and wind up being more of a hinderance than a help.

Don’t believe me? Think about email, which is poorly suited to the various ways teachers tend to use it throughout their school day. At its core, Email hasn’t really evolved with our demands and as such, is an outdated and extremely clunky way to communicate with colleagues. Here’s just a few of the reasons email really sucks;

  1. Lack of Flow – Just think about the number of documents you’ve received as attachments for review over the years? You have to click, open, download, edit, re-attach, reply – this whole process is time consuming and full of friction, reducing the flow and therefore increasing the time it takes to complete the required action
  2. Not Succinct Enough –  A standard email tends to be much longer than it actually needs to be, due to the nature of writing it as a letter or formal communication. This might not seen like a problem, however in most cases a quick line of text would suffice, saving both the sender and receiver valuable time and effort.
  3. Overused – The average person receives 140 emails per day, therefore making email a difficult channel to collaborate in. Essentially, this means that when you’re colleagues are in their inbox, they’re likely to be splitting their attention amongst all sorts of areas, many of which, detract from the tasks at hand.
  4. Out of Touch – Email does not reflect the way we communicate as a modern society. Consumers around the world have made it clear how they like to communicate – everything from the slew of messaging apps to abundance of social networks show that the way we communicate has fundamentally changed. Email on the other hand is an unnatural reflection of how we actually communicate. Unless you actually say “Best Regards” to your colleagues as you leave the office, there’s no reason you should use it when you sign off on messages online, unless you are engaged in a more formal conversation. This may not seem like a big deal, but the impact this has on our productivity is massive and we need tools that fit into the modern world.

I could go on and on about this topic and why 90% of the email  we send and receive is a burden on teachers and departments/districts looking to collaborate. However, I’d rather share with you a tool which has changed my world in the last two years drastically impacting my ability to communicate & collaborate with my team. Enter Slack a messaging platform built from the ground up for teams and collaboration. Slack functions like Twitter, using @mentions and #hashtags to organize conversations around themes, which take place in specific channels. The best part about Slack is that the communication happens privately amongst your team and the colleagues you invite, making it great for laser focused, private internal communication without distractions.

Check it out in the video below

So how could a PE Department use slack?

  1. Create channels for the various topics that require collaboration in your department. These could be #assessment, #planning #sports etc – You then invite the teachers in your department to these channels making it easy to communicate with laser focus around these topics.
  2. Add the RSS integration so that when new blog posts/podcasts are released they appear automatically inside a specific channel called #pdevelopment – this means that new content from your favourite professional development websites (such as this) come to you when its been posted making it super easy to access
  3. The ability to integrate many of the apps & tools teachers use on a daily basis such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Dropbox  make it super easy to have one place to work on everything. No need to switch back and forth between multiple tools.
  4. Kill or minimise time sucking internal email
  5. Plus much more

 

Knowing that the worlds best teams use Slack, it goes without saying that you and your colleagues could do with a platform that makes modern collaboration an absolute breeze. Best of all, Slack is 100% free & will take your internal collaboration to a new level.

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