Cloud-based storage improves communication by creating online forums, discussions, and messaging systems. This allows users to access and reply to messages from anywhere, and keep a record of the communication that has taken place.
- [Instructor] We normally don't think of the cloud as helping us to communicate but there are many ways that it can. One of the most common examples of this is email which is essentially a cloud based tool that most of us now take for granted. Although email is still an effective tool, there are other tools that improve our ability to communicate with peers and students. My favorite is a new tool by Microsoft called Teams. Teams is an online cloud based platform which allows users to communicate, collaborate and store files and recently, Microsoft released an education version of Teams which is perfect for your class.
Let's check it out. So right now, I'm on the Teams platform and this is a one stop digital hub for your class. You'll notice on the left that I have two different teams created here. One is my Biology 101 class and the next one is for our school staff. Now, the one for my class, I've also created many different groups or channels inside of here. I have my General one for everybody then I have different groups as well as some special interest groups such as a study group and question of the day. Now, in the right hand side, you'll notice here that I'm under the Conversations tab.
The Conversations tab is one that exists in all of the different channels. So here, this provides an excellent way for you to post announcements or to communicate with students. Students also have the ability to post messages to their classmates or to the instructor. Going to go down here to my Genetics Exam Study Group and you'll notice up at the top that first we have a post by a student, Madeline Charles, who asks if anyone wants to get together to study on Thursday and here, even outside of the class, students can see this on a device, on the computer, wherever and reply to Madeline.
Below this, I had posted a message asking if everyone was confident about the upcoming genetics exam and here, students could reply. One thing I really like is that replies to posts on here are threaded meaning that they will be indented and stay with the original post so everything is very organized and structured. Now, here you can see that Madeline posted a question right after that and then I was able to reply to it. One thing I really like about these online communication tools is that they allow you to share messages with groups or individuals.
They allow you to communicate beyond the walls of the classroom in safe and protected environments. Most allow users to receive notifications when they receive messages and they keep a permanent record of the communication that has taken place so users can refer back to that communication at any time. This is very powerful. Now, one other thing you can do inside of Teams is to notify specific people. So here, if I wanted to, I could click on Reply, I can type an at symbol along with start typing a student's name and this will notify them that they have a specific message that's targeted to them.
So this will be an example of where they would receive specific notifications on their device or on their computer letting them know that they have a message. This type of cloud based online communication is also a benefit provided by most learning management systems where you can use the discussions, announcements or chat features to communicate. Right now, I'm inside of my Canvas account. I'm going to go over here to my Animal Behavior course and click on it and inside of here, you'll notice that I have different tabs. For instance, Announcements where I can post different announcements and communicate with my class and this is great because I can do this even when it's not during class.
They can see this outside of the classroom. If I go down here a bit, you'll see Discussions and I love the power of online discussions. This is a great way to get your students engaged and involved and again, it keeps an online record of any of these discussions so that students can refer back to them. Down here, you'll see a student posted a question about how to insert a Google image. Also, I have an animal intelligence discussion here that I posted and students can then reply to that.
So this is inside of the Canvas learning management system but almost all learning management systems will have some form of announcements and discussions that you can utilize. There are also many other platforms which allow you to communicate on such as Google Hangouts, Skype and others. Many of them even allowing you to use video. Remind is a useful application which allows you to share messages from your computer or device and send them as a text message to peers or students reminding them of things like field trips, upcoming assignments or anything else.
This is a neat service because it doesn't require the exchange of phone numbers yet provides text message notifications which are a very common way for today's students to stay updated. I recommend that you check out some of these tools and see how you can use the power of the cloud to improve communication in your class.
- The benefits of the cloud
- Communicating with students
- Sharing resources
- Assessing students
- Taking notes
- Working with Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams
- Integrating a learning management system