by Kalpana Kishorekumar
Expert Educator Columnist, Brunei
Let this article roll out in high fashion, as I expound my walk with Yammer- an appy communication approach for organizations!
Day in and out, I have seen teachers in my school using Facebook when they are free. Who am I to complain? I use Facebook too, but what bothered me was: Why teachers use Facebook to send official messages? Why don’t they use their organizational email or just email? Is it the RIGHT communication channel for educational institutions? I wondered and piqued about it, for a while…
Have you ever fantasized about social networks only for organizations? Will they be as popular as Facebook and Twitter? Questions whirled my mind… as usual I was lost in my own question bubble!
When I asked this question loud and clear, the look I received from my colleagues was priceless, a look that proved that I am crazy… Good job, I had to profane myself!
While working on my assignment on Educational Technology, I stumbled upon Yammer, I jumped as if I hit a jackpot! My thoughts then was ‘How did I miss this one?’
Introducing Yammer in my school was not an easy task, I had to write a proposal explaining the advantages of this network and was asked to brief the administration team. I just took a chance and set up our school network in 2013 and then came the customary green signal which ensued early as i expected.
After setting up our school network in Yammer, I started to migrate all official communication to Yammer. It was difficult than I thought, as I received a dartboard of questions. Some key questions that I tackled then was:
- What is Yammer?
- Why Yammer?
- What is wrong with the current way of communication?
Providing our Leadership team with a presentation on How to use Yammer, the Heads of various departments in our school followed the suit which powered me with 50 % success. A crash course and a training session for teachers that was efficaciously conducted by my partner, Mdm. Tan Been Tiem, Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator 2014, facilitated me to accelerate the process of implementation of Yammer at school.
So What’s Yammer?
Yammer – a business application, which is used to connect people who belong to the same institution using an organization email. In my experience it is far better than Facebook or Twitter!
Or we could easily explain Yammer as a private network for employees to organize, to collaborate on various projects. The conversation is very simple that it happens in a central place, and allows us to respond with ease.
Entire Overview on Yammer:
Why should Institutions use Yammer?
In the world of gadgets, we are competing to catch up with deadlines and incessant happenings! It’s common that we fail to listen to what our colleagues think, as we tend to concentrate on our work, even though we would be working on the same task with them. Yammer is a blessing for organizations. Inspiring statement huh! Designs, commendations pour in, as you post a proposal, a question or a problem. I received many ideas and impromptu suggestions from my colleagues from other departments that has helped me terrifically on certain occasions.
What’s so electrifying about Yammer???
With Yammer, communication never cease, fun never ends! Given below are some features that you can enjoy with Yammer.
- You can send messages of any length!
- You can attach files with your messages!
- You can easily thread your conversation!
- Follow anyone in your organization!
- Create groups within your organization’s Yammer space!
- You can choose how you want to be notified of new things – whether by email, text (SMS) or not at all!
- You can install Yammer – Notifier in your desktop to be on the go!
- You can auto-post from Twitter using the #yam hashtag
- Link your posts using #tags!
- You can reply via as a message/email!
- Upload / download files and forms!
There are so many important facets in Yammer that never fails to astound you!
1. Build your community:
Yammer helps to build connections in your own organization. I work in a school where 200 plus teachers slog in and out. It’s challenging to know every teacher and I am aware that we all are from different cultural background such as Bruneians, Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporeans, Indians etc. In order to improve healthy relationship among colleagues, it’s mandatory to know everyone.
We incapacitated this problem, as we started to play ‘Facegame’ in Yammer. ‘Facegame’ is an app where you have to recognize your coworkers in 30 seconds. This is a simple yet funny game and I try to get a better score every time I play. It really helped me to know my colleagues and remember their name, besides helped me to build new connections with them, even though you have never associated with them before.
2. Manage time wisely:
While we wish to have more than 24 hours a day, the question to manage time wisely, raises a lot of concern. The workload shared by teachers who work in the same organization deter schedules planned. It is very difficult to convene meeting, to announce important information, to applaud an achievement, to conduct R & D, to update about upcoming events, impending competitions etc. With Yammer, it is easy to accomplish your scheduled tasks and could manage time sensibly. I post all required info in my Yammer group timeline and get desired response within a matter of few hours. Since teachers in my school are, it’s easy to follow the posts, as discussions flow freely. Without meeting face to face, I am able to finalize projects, assignments, design professional development courses with better ideas and recommendations from my teachers.
3. Create Groups:
You can create a group for your department or form a committee and send invitations to teachers to participate in full-fledged discussions. You can set up another external network for students and invite them to participate under class groups. You can post anything such as Minutes of a meeting, Project proposals, topical test, review of an assignment, notes for a lesson etc. You can post a poll to decide quickly on some issues that has more viable options and allows you to go with the majority. Yammer is incredible, it helps you to communicate with your students liberally. You can also create sub-groups where you can share some expertise info to a particular group of teachers or students. By managing external networks proficiently, you can have separate groups for students and teachers without getting information mixed up. You can also set up external networks where you can easily collaborate with educators across the world like Microsoft in Education, Showcase schools, Innovative schools, Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators etc. You can join other desired group as you can browse through groups.
4. One Click – Get your files in your finger tips:
Various departments have multiple forms and procedures for assessments, activities, rubrics for tasks, resources, sample papers etc. At times, it takes ages for you to figure the right one. Yammer hold back us from this trouble. Head of the departments can upload the files and records in their department group, which they need for each term or for each grade / level. Subject teachers can download it from their group. You can even track the people who has downloaded the files with date and time.
5. Yammer is all about Privacy too!
6. Be proactive & Mobile friendly:
Yammer app is well supported in different platforms – iOS, Android, Windows etc and enables users to interact freely. With distinct cloud heritage and integration with Office 365, its more feasible and user friendly when compared with Linkedin. This integration has enabled Yammer an upper hand, as it is simple and familiar that empowers people to use it without any difficulty.
Now, Yammer is utilized by more than 100,000 companies or organizations across the world. Yammer, being a social networking tool like Facebook, Twitter has been pretty impressive so far, especially to institutions such as schools and colleges. It meets the demands of basic requirements of educators to communicate freely and to share their best practices without any difficulty.
On the whole Yammer is one of the finest communication tool that’s practices 3C’s at finesse! Yammer – allows you to CREATE, to CONNECT and to COMMUNICATE with an amazingly astute, quick-witted and innovative group of people.
With Yammer, Let’s rewire the way the information is shared and consumed!