Yammer: Your In-House Professional Learning Community

In December of 2010 a co-worker (Jacob Standish) and I stumbled upon Yammer. Our minds immediately saw the potential of a great in-house Professional Learning Community (PLC). We work in a district that restricts access to many social networks because of the lack of productivity that can happen in places like Facebook and MySpace. Yammer though gave us a unique opportunity to cut the distractions out (what you are doing for lunch, who you are meeting, where you are, silly off topics jokes, non-professional non-educational content) of such social media and focus on what teachers do: Educate and Professional Development.The philosophy  that we introduced Yammer to our district was for TEACHERS by TEACHERS. The desire is a place for EDUCATORS (the true enterprise of our district) to share EDUCATION ideas and thoughts that will help TEACHERS to explore and learn together. Teachers are true professionals and Yammer gives them an opportunity to speak about their PROFESSION. Some teachers will never be able to get twitter (and that’s OK) but they can get Yammer because it is in Yammer where they will meet their fellow district teachers. Teaching the same Common Core on the same pacing guide.Yammer works best in groups. Since there is no “facilitator” on our Yammer network it is by the common good that teachers keep to the vision of the PLC. Anyone can create a group that is Educationally Focused. The power of our Yammer network has been in the Grass Roots efforts of teachers to be Professionals in our district.

We have been deliberate in our cause to keep Yammer a Professional Learning Community and not Facebook or a non-professional Twitter feed. We have been focused in Yammer to help teachers find people of like mind and explore educational content together in ways they have not been able to do in the past.

Jenny Grabiec, Jacob Standish and I have created Podcasts and Help Files for our district to guide the proper uses and nuances of Yammer.

The focus of our Yammer network is very direct. Part of that is because of the strict rules our district puts on “social networks” being a possible waste of time. Everyone who joins Yammer gets a notice posted to them to help guide the focus of their thoughts. The majority of teachers and educators have been great at keeping to that focus.

Yammer would be a great opportunity for your district teachers to build a safe PLC without feeling lost in such places as Twitter. It is a great way to bridge the gap between school collaboration (school building)  and global collaboration (Twitter). Helping teachers model 21st Century Skills of social networking as professionals.

If you are interested in more help in how our district uses Yammer feel free to contact me via Twitter or comment below.

Here is what all users get in our Yammer Network:

Here is why CMS Instructional Technology Conceived Yammer (and it is not to “update your status”). It’s about your PLN and your PLC these are STRONGLY EDUCATION IDEAS:We (Instructional Technology) are really excited that you have joined the Yammer community. There are some things we would like you to keep in mind as you use Yammer:
• Yammer is a positive force for collaboration
• Yammer is an opportunity to encourage each other and share ideas
• Yammer is CMS only, which leads to greater internal collaboration
• Yammer directly connects you to your PLC
• Yammer helps you build your PLN (Remember its YOUR PLN, build it how YOU want)Now let’s connect, collaborate, encourage, and share. I’m looking forward to learning with you all…

About technology_tim

Moved to New Site: http://www.timganosmith.com. Instructional Technology Specialist, Podcaster, Teacher, Jamie's Husband, Father of Three, iOS Expert, Apple Expert
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3 Responses to Yammer: Your In-House Professional Learning Community

  1. usedbyyou says:

    Love the work you guys are doing. Keep it up and keep sharing it! I recently worked with a small school to get their teachers started using Yammer and it was really fun to get this school up to speed. We had them post their most memorable moment so far this school year. Got some great stories and really good content on their network. Best of luck to you!

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