What is Slack?
Slack is a professional messaging software that includes many features for organization and productivity. It features different channels to organize topics of conversation and useful tools that can be used to bookmark and tag within the messages. It is also easily accessible through the web browser and app which makes the software ideal for collaboration for projects and extra-curriculars.
- Channels: essentially organized group chats. The general channel is for team communication and announcements. The random chat is for less formal group chatting. Users are able to create their own channels to further organize communications.
- Notifications: users are able to send notifications to specific team-members to draw attention to important information.
- Connect apps: users are able to connect apps like Google Drive, Skype etc. to further enhance workflow and communications when working on projects.
Did you know? You can even add helpful bots to your conversations!
- Files: Users are able to send and receive files, as well as add descriptions. Files are easily searchable through Slack and can also be deleted to clear up clutter.
- Text Snippets: users can share text or code snippets, and can select from diff. programming languages.
- Posts: users can share and collaborate on posts
- useful when a lot of information must be organized
- Star Feature: Works much like the ‘flagging’ feature on emails. Star important posts, messages or files to save them to a larger list and revisit them again.
- Reactions: A fun way to leave feedback on posts and communicate with team members while only using emojis.
- Active/Inactive: Keep updated with what is happening in your group even on your time off by remaining inactive.
What makes Slack useful?
- A professional environment (Unlike Facebook with ads and distractions).
- You can communicate with and organize huge groups (Great for extracurriculars!)
- Sets apart personal accounts like Facebook or Skype from school related communications.
3 Uses in education:
- Group projects: Slack is a great tool for communication and collaboration. Different channels can be created for discussing parts of the projects, and then general chat can be used to come together for creating the final product. An example would be a presentation. One channel could be working on research for the presentation while another works on designing the presentation and graphics. They come together in the general chat to put together their research and the presentation layout. This avoids the confusion of the two groups, working on separate parts of the project, speaking in one big group chat.
- Extracurriculars: School clubs often involve many parts that work as a hierarchy. There are the teacher supervisors, the presidents, executives, and fhen club members. Smaller channels can be made for president-executive communication, teacher-president communication, marketing, fundraising, etc. General can be used to make announcements to all club members. This is a great way to keep members organized and give everyone a platform to talk. If all members and executives are put in one group, some ideas may go unheard. With smaller groups, all ideas can be freely shared and different groups can carry on their communication without disrupting other groups.
- Teacher – Class Communication: Teachers can create their own slack groups to communicate with students. Any announcements can be posted in the general channel. Smaller channels can be created for group projects, where teachers can join and see how group members interact and work together on the project. This may be used to assess the amount of work each student is putting in, as well as assess the students on their collaboration skills. By moderating students’ activity and urging them to use this tool, students are also being taught how to communicate and collaborate effectively, and taught how to use slack which may help them to work more effectively in future group projects.
What are you waiting for? Click here to start your own slack squad!
Don’t worry if you get stuck on the way, slack also has a help directory (or you can also refer back to this cheatsheet 😉 )!
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