Today’s contributor: Shawn Mauser is a National Board Certified Librarian at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders
Ahh, the eternal problem of efficient communication within a team. So many tools from which to choose, each with its own tools, benefits, and quirks and each with its own fandom. The problem with this wealth of tools is that communication consistency suffers. Where was that message that contained that one piece of information you need to complete your next task? You saw it just this morning in a notification somewhere, but now it has gone to ground and you’ve spent the last hour looking for it. A full fifty minutes more than the actual project would have taken to complete. A sub-category of information overload, the search for that piece of information YOU SERIOUSLY JUST SAW is one of the daily constants of life in a tech rich society.
MS Teams is a project management tool that exists within our district’s network. Teachers have always had some access to the free versions of Trello and Slack, two popular, and awesome tools in their own right, but they both have some caveats that don’t provide for a full implementation within our network, especially when you add students to the mix. MS Teams is Microsoft’s answer to those tools, AND best of all, teachers and students now have the paid version at their fingertips.
Tools included in MS Teams include both general and personal chats, to streamline planning conversations and decision-making and de-clutter your inbox; topic channels that give a space to hold discussions around specific topics or projects; video and voice calling; and useful integrations of other tools through the use of dedicated tabs within each channel’s page The configurations within the tool are endless, and teachers will be able to utilize the tool for student communication with secure chats and online meetings.
I know. I know. Another tool to add to the mix. Sigh.
However, you don’t have to become an expert to start using it. I recommend beginning with the chat tool and exploring the other tools as you go. The chat is user friendly and works just like every other chat tool. Plus, learning MS Teams will allow you to streamline your communication tasks and this tool can take the place of the hodge-podge of project management tools you might be using now.
MS Teams can be accessed directly through the AISD Portal, the phone app, or installed on your computer.