Why are robust messaging features worth seeking out? A few reasons.
We’ve always believed that it’s impossible to limit learning to the classroom. (As Justin said in his recent Medium post, “Life doesn’t stop outside of class. Learning shouldn’t either.”) Messaging features are huge connectors of what happens during classtime with what happens after the bell rings.
You’ve probably heard us say all this before. Here’s what we mean.
Messaging vs. Email
Messaging features present options for a teacher to more rapidly respond to questions or address the whole class with course updates. A student is better able to reach another student for help. It’s clutch stuff.
And to those of you thinking “Email! Duh!” let’s be real about email culture. While you can shoot a message to a colleague or classmate (assuming you have that info) and accomplish the same end, it’s a more passive ritual than modern messaging. Email is easier to ignore; it’s a communication less suited for quick questions and updates than it is for longer correspondence that can wait a day or two for a response.
This is not to say that email is dead. (No way. Email is great.) It’s to say that we have more ways to communicate than we have ever had before. It behooves us to match our message with the right platform. Messaging features make a lot of sense for class-wide news and notes.
Active Communication (Not Passive)
Messaging has the distinct benefit of being a more active form of communication than other routes, pinging a user with a text or push notification and begging a faster response and/or more immediate attention. This active form of communication is a must for students stuck on homework who are looking for help from classmates or an instructor. It’s better suited to reach a student outside of class and/or via a mobile device.
(And messaging tools housed in your LMS or a similar learning platform have the perk of being displayed in front of schoolwork.)
Yes, students will message each other about non-homework things. It’s going to happen no matter what. Wouldn’t you rather it happen when a student can look a running list of assignments they must complete in the background of their chat? Pushing students to connect in a safe digital space where they can interact with other elements of their school life: that’s our goal with messaging features.
Yes, You Can Take Breaks
We’re not so stubborn as to believe that there aren’t instances when the instant, active communication offered by a messaging system could become a distraction. We recently wrote about how to disable our messaging system during classtime. Taking a break from messaging is A-okay. But there are lots of reasons you’d want it up and running after class is dismissed.
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts on messaging with us in the comments.