Educators are collaborating within Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in schools and districts across the state of Texas. In doing so, they are putting in place practices aligned to the Vision. And, as a result of this “better together” mentality, students are reaping the benefits as their teachers focus on a shared commitment to learning for all.
Within a school’s master schedule, time must be allotted for teams to come together and do the work as Professional Learning Communities. This time must be kept safe as a priority so that collaboration for student learning can occur. In addition to these team meetings, ongoing communication about day-to-day lessons, assessment creation, and general classroom problem solving is valuable to the team’s collegial mission. Digital tools support this informal communication, question-posing and answer-seeking. The tools used should help, and not hinder, the work and should make communication more efficient and effective. Examples of possible digital tools for team communication are highlighted below.
Digital Tools for Team Collaboration
- Microsoft Teams – An Office 365 product, this platform supports organized work through channels and conversations. Group chats, web calls, and online meetings keep teams connected. Integration with other Office 365 apps allows for seamless file sharing and collaboration.
- Slack – The product’s tagline: Where Work Happens describes this tool well. This searchable log of all conversation and knowledge allows users to organize content into channels and threads. Share files and jump on a video or audio call, directly within the app. Keep conversations efficient with Slack, rather than through email, which can become overwhelming and unorganized.
- Trello – Marketed as infinitely flexible and incredibly easy to use, this platform provides a way to visually organize your projects. With boards, lists, and cards, teams can stay on top of the work in a linear fashion.
I have utilized each of these platforms with teams to enhance collaboration for different purposes. No matter the product chosen, teams should consider digital tools to become more efficient and effective in their informal communication within and beyond designated meeting dates/times.
What digital tool does your team use to communicate and collaborate?
In the coming weeks, I will continue to share more tools to support the work of teachers as members of professional learning communities and the potential outcome: high levels of learning for all students.