Social Networking Tools can Facilitate Excellent Communication and Build Connections and Community When They are Limited to the Community They're Intended For!
Teachers across the world are increasingly embracing the potential of digital tools to make learning content more accessible and engaging for students. There are many powerful, fun, free tools that can be used to this end. One of them is a private social networking tool called Yammer. Here are some productive ways that the proprietary social networking tool is being used in the classroom.
What is Yammer?
For those who are not already familiar with Yammer, it’s an enterprise social network service developed to serve as an internal communication system for organizations and companies (sort of a much more private version of Facebook). Any organization can use Yammer for free, and many educational institutions have jumped on the Yammer train. Not surprisingly, its functionality in fostering collaboration and discussion has made Yammer popular into the context of training and education.
5 Ways Yammer is Being Used in Schools
So let’s check out some different ways that Yammer is being used in today’s classrooms!
- Communication Simplified with Yammer
Yammer allows faculty, staff and students to easily communicate across barriers, including those that can be hard to breach with the typical means of communication, like phone calls, e-mails, etc.. By posting questions and creating polls, teachers can also keep in touch with the students and get a better sense of their expectations. Click here to listen to an NMSU instructor explaining a rich use of Yammer in the context of online teaching (jump to 1:00 to get to the Yammer-specific part of the dialogue).
- Yammer Creates a Great Environment for Debating
Debating can be a wonderful way to explore a topic. By encouraging students to actively participate in a discussion and develop respect for points of view different than their own, we can facilitate thought and learning on so many levels. Yammer is a tool specifically designed to promote collaboration of various kinds, and, since it's similar to other social networks, students learn to use it very fast – a fact that allows instructors to focus on the content of the debate (rather than on technical issues). To see a great detailed example, read the account of Victoria Raish on the introduction and use of Yammer in classroom debates.
- Yammer Helps in Keeping Students Up to Date
In order to communicate better with their students, instructors can create private class groups, where they're able not only to post relevant information and feature course updates, but also to upload useful content and schedule events, such as office hours or due dates set for assignments.Yammer can be used for posting real-time homework as well, creating a collaborative research space that will keep the students involved and informed. Phil Andersson of Deliotte Australia posted a comment about using Yammer in their training programs, saying: “Using Yammer allowed participants to connect prior to arriving on the actual day. A great tool to begin networking as soon as possible.”
- Yammer Helps to Save Time
Using its multiple functionalities that foster communication and collaboration, Yammer can help in cutting down on the number of traditional or synchronous online meetings you need to communicate effectively. This can let you use actual meeting time more effectively as all participants are well informed and have other business covered already.Managing large projects that involve plenty of people is usually time-consuming and Yammer helps to reduce the time and effort spent on coordination and material sharing. To see what the tool's most important benefits are, according to its users, check this survey of 10,000 Yammer users that reveal its benefits for various environments, professional and educational alike.
- Yammer Offers New Networking Opportunities
With Yammer, students, who would otherwise be unable to contact each other, get a chance to communicate. Full-time and part-time students can make valuable cross-program connections and establish a wider network that can include the previous alumni in topic-driven conversations. Creating those connections is useful not only for the purpose of exploring various topics, but also for facilitating peer-to-peer support and creating a strong sense of community. To see what the actual students think of using Yammer, check this entertaining video of Pepperdine MBA students' viewpoints on Yammer.
Yammer can provide a great learning environment, beneficial to students, as well as teachers. By communicating and collaborating with ease, teachers get a better chance at detecting and solving problems associated with the classroom activities.
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