Yammer will be available to Office 365 for Education users for free from April 2014. Further information here.
What is Yammer? From yammer.com:
Collaboration software that empowers employees to be more productive and successful, Yammer makes it easy to take on any business challenge.
We could rewrite that for schools and colleges:
Collaboration software that empowers students and teachers to be more productive and successful, Yammer makes it easy to take on any learning challenge.
Here are 15 top tips for using Yammer at your school or college:
- Group Work – you have a secure space for teaching or project groups to communicate ideas, ask questions, share files, etc.
- Leaderboards – show data about who has contributed the most and received the most likes, replies, etc.
- Study help – students and teachers can help each other keep on track, both inside and outside the classroom.
- Question and poll facilities – students and teachers can give and receive quick feedback.
- Embed documents quickly and easily and share with those that need them.
- Use by email, tablet and phone apps. As part of Office 365, you can be always logged on.
- Praise – give a virtual ‘well done’ or pat on the back to students that have been helpful.
- Announcements – for the whole school, or individual groups.
- Students learn about cybersafety and safe social networking in a controlled environment.
- Have a staff only Yammer network – use as a noticeboard and information centre to help cut down on printing – and emails!
- Senior managers and other staff can easily see how students across the whole school and leave feedback and ideas for groups and individual students.
- Encourage participation with daily or weekly tips, quotes, or brainteasers!
- Use Yammer as a living, growing knowledge base – due to its ease of contributing content and powerful search functionality, everyone can contribute and find the content they need, when they need it.
- Virtual professional learning for staff – set up groups with resources, objectives and discussions on particular topics relevant to your staff development plan.
- Beyond the classroom – create Yammer groups for all areas of school life – boarders, sports teams, clubs, charities, church, etc…