Go digital learners - using Yammer in the classroom

Going digital this year? Want to use more technology in your classroom? Yammer is a social networking app by Microsoft and it is the perfect, safe option for connecting your students online. Not only that you can use it for whole school collaboration and for connecting with parents. Check out my ideas and tips below!

Using technology in the classroom can be a bit of a marmite issue. You either love or you hate it.  Many of us are now at schools that are 1:1 or are transitioning to 1:1 - so not only are we grappling with curriculum requirements, we have a bunch of new technology to get our heads around.

Some schools are going Google, mine? We are all about Microsoft. 

Office 365

Office 365 is Microsoft's collection of cloud-based apps and programmes. It has the usual Office favourites - Word, PowerPoint, Excel and a whole bunch more that are fab for using in the classroom.

Today's blog is dedicated to my new love: Yammer. If you have Office 365 then you will have licenses for Yammer - check with your school IT department to get it all activated. It's worth it.

Yammer

Yammer is a social networking app for business. It's set up for collaboration and sharing much like FB and Twitter.  Many teachers see the value in connecting with pupils in those condensed-social-media-style experiences but we remain wary of blurring the lines between in-school and out-of-school communication.

Yammer is the solution, the perfect solution.

Setting up your class:

Once you and your pupils are all registered, you have a couple of options, here's what I do:
  1. Create a new group for each of my classes. Find the button to do this on the bottom right of your Yammer page. The instructions are very simple.
  2. Add group members - I add my whole class using our internal mail list, so I don't have add each individual kid.
  3. Make the group private (if you want) which will mean messages will only be seen by the group.
  4. That's it - you're ready to go!

Curriculum uses:

  • Homework reminders - "err guys your essay is due in tomorrow"
  • Notices - "bring your copies of Hemingway in tomorrow"
  • Link - cool articles, links to YouTube videos, anything really
  • Run a competition - our history department ran a competition for the best drawings to represent "peace". Each one was uploaded, commented on and then voted for
  • Essay planning - upload the essay question, everyone has to add 2 ideas by the end of the week
  • Create a poll -  to discuss, debate, review or just for fun


Whole school uses:

We don't just use Yammer for collaboration in our subject areas.  Here's a bunch of ways Yammer can declutter your email box and make communication great again.
  • Send alerts and notifications to parents (yep you can add external members). I have created special groups for my examination students' parents - so they can see the work we do in the classroom.
  • Staff notices and reminders (no more email)
  • Collaborate across subject areas - we have a Textiles and Literature Yammer group where we are designing wall hangings of Shakespeare quotes.
  • Career education - discuss jobs, employment, work opportunities and further study.
  • Collaborate with other students in other schools - I am still working on this. If you are reading this and are studying Shakespeare next year - maybe we could Yammer our classes up!

So... if you are a Microsoft school, Yammer is where it's at. 

For some more suggestions for how you can use Yammer at school check out this: http://www.schoolnet.org.za/PILP/office365/yammer2-20ways.html and this: http://www.vlerick.com/en/about-vlerick/news/taking-education-beyond-the-classroom-with-yammer 

Tomorrow's technology blog post will on using Class Notebook.

Thanks for reading!

4 comments:

  1. Yammer sounds like an awesome communication tool. Thanks for giving us the 411 on it!
    Darlene Anne
    ELA Buffet

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE Office 365. I've used a few components before this year, but I'm really trying to "dig into" it this year and use more of it. I teach in Moorefield, WV. As of right now, my students cannot use it because WV uses it as a tool among professionals. Ideas on how to change that?

    ReplyDelete
  3. My students cannot use Yammer. We do use other components of Office 365.

    ReplyDelete