Collaboration and Communication Applications
Hello everyone. here are many available collaboration and communication apps. In this blog, we will examine six popular communication and collaboration apps and consider warnings and safeguards for school-aged children. Please let me know if you have any questions!
Slack is a team collaboration application (app) used for sharing information between members, and the purpose of this program is to enable customers to stay in contact in real-time and retrieve shared information. According to Johnson (2018), Slack is “a cloud-based digital workspace and information management system used to manage productivity and improve team efficiency” (p. 148). The authors also described how administrators indicate how Slack has improved their companies’ office cultures. Specifically, as stated by the author, more than 88 percent of customers state that Slack allows for more professional connections between team members which includes sharing and retrieving information. Overall, this app is popular among technology professionals such as developers because the program allows these professionals to share information and content around application development. For example, snippets of code can be sent to other Slack members quickly and easily which allows the users to collaborate on projects regardless of users’ locations.
There are risks associated with children using collaboration and communication apps such as Slack. According to Internet Matters (2018a), students may observe inappropriate content online when using collaboration apps. Unfortunately, despite safeguards, children may often come across information which is inappropriate for their ages or stages of development. Information they observe online may be untrue, intended for adults, or exposes children to dangerous subject matters. To prevent this from occurring, children should be encouraged to speak to family members if they observe upsetting information on collaboration sites. Specifically, pupils should remember that not all information on the Internet is trustworthy, and students should confirm that their family members utilize parental controls to protect them from exposure which also reassures students’ peace of mind (Internet Matters, 2020).
According to Karno and Hatcher (2019), the use of apps like Slack involves children demonstrating difficulties with problem-solving. Although these apps provide problem-solving opportunities, research suggests that the quick pace of these communications and collaborations result in children having difficulties resolving conflicts (Karno & Hatcher, 2019). Useful websites regarding Slack include the following: 1) Slack’s website is https://slack.com/, and 2) administrative control on Slack is https://slack.com/help/categories/200122103-Workspace-administration. Another useful resources includes https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/social-media-online-gaming-and-keeping-children-safe-online
Remind School Communication
Remind School Communication is an app used to manage information between students, teachers, parents, and administrators. According to Johnson (2018), any team-based app such as Remind School Communication is beneficial to various populations. This description is especially true since the features provide accessibility to a variety of team members “including those from organizations with various levels of security” (Johnson, 2018, p. 48). Specifically, this program allows users to create classroom communications tailored to specific age or target groups. Conveniently, the information is only maintained within the group and not visible to other people. Therefore, information is kept within the group and can be personalized for targeted audiences by users. Overall, this app is often used for schools or districts as the program ensures content is shared only with people residing or working in specific locations.
There are risks associated with using communication and collaboration apps like Remind Social Communication These concerns include children sharing too much with others, assuming private means safe, and inadvertently connecting with a predator (Fabian-Weber, 2021). To reduce these risks, parents should utilize administrational controls, and they should have regular conversations with their children regarding what they are seeing online and what they prefer not to see. Family members should remember that websites like YouTube have age limits and should have parental restrictions. Specifically, family members may want to speak with teachers at the school and fellow parents to discuss these issues. Parents are also encouraged to monitor apps for false marketing, and online bullying Additionally, parents should set rules about what their children are permitted to watch digitally (Internet Matters, 2018b). Furthermore, children should know to ask permission before posting any information about friends such as a photos or videos (Care for Kids, 2018).
According to Latif et al. (2019), there are other non-technological warnings regarding the use of apps. Specifically, some researchers believe there is an overuse of apps by females and inadequate use of social media by males which may affect learning. There are also drawbacks including speculations about increases in superficial learning and students’ distractions from multi-media materials being used during instruction. Useful websites regarding Remind School Communication include the following: 1) Remind: School Communication’s website is https://www.remind.com/, and 2) administrative controls on Remind School Communication are https://help.remind.com/hc/en-us/sections/360000042200-Oversight-and-administration. Another useful resource includes https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/staying-safe-online.
GroupMe allows communication and collaboration with multiple users, and customers are able to send information to individuals or private groups. According to Shuffler (2021), this app can be used personally or professionally during large corporate events or meetings for the purpose of staff members staying in touch. Specifically, users can create groupings which are fully customizable; therefore, they are able to form groups for classes, colleagues, friends, or family members. Since this app is owned by Microsoft, the app incorporates Skype so real-time video communication can be accomplished easily. Overall, this program also allows other content from Microsoft applications to be shared in the workspace which many people consider to be convenient.
There are risks associated with using apps like GroupMe which include inappropriate ads and in-app purchases, anonymity features encouraging concerning behaviors, cyberbullying, location tracking and sharing, public default settings, and random secret chat rooms (Elgersma, 2021). To mitigate these hazards, families should access parental controls on their broadband internets. This safeguard is possible even if the family shares the same broadband. Parents should also set appropriate filters on apps and help children find programs which are appropriate for their ages. Furthermore, family members should report inappropriate content (Internet Matters, 2018c) and children should be reminded that content is never deleted online so they should avoid posting sensitive information to apps (Caring for Kids, 2018).
According to Latif et al. (2019), there are other non-technological warnings regarding the use of apps like GroupMe. Specifically, the authors stated there is a risk of children having a decrease in outdoor activities which may lead to potential health issues. Additionally, social media apps are correlated with students having less traditional social engagement which impacts students’ pragmatic language skills. For example, children who use social media often experience difficulties in face-to-face communications and are less interested in the feedback of others. Useful websites regarding GroupMe include the following: 1) GroupMe’s website – https://groupme.com/en-US/, and 2) administrative controls on GroupMe are https://highstermobile.com/blog/groupme-parental-controls/. Another useful resource includes https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/social-media-online-gaming-and-keeping-children-safe-online.
Monday.com is an app which allows individuals to set up collaboration teams by grouping people into groups for specific purposes. According to Todd (2021), Monday.com has become popular in the United Kingdom where the company is headquartered due to increases in the population’s hybrid working habits. Specifically, this app allows clients to designate groups of people for projects or assignments, share information and content, and mark work items when they are completed. These features are particularly helpful when working on group assignments so that all participants know what has been completed and what still needs to be done. Once projects are marked complete, then everyone will be alerted to move to the next project or assignment.
There are risks associated with using apps like Monday.com. These hazards include the possibility of children sending or receiving temporary pictures/videos, increasing toxic classroom environments, utilizing real-time video streaming, and participating in random stranger video chat (Elgersma, 2021). According to Care for Kids (2018), parents should disable features such as geotags which share the exact locations of children. Other suggestions include encouraging children to use a nickname not their real name while using social media (Care for Kids, 2018). To reduce these risks, parents should discuss what is good and bad about social media, review concerns and consequences, discuss with children how parents can help with the use of administrative controls, and develop a contract of agreement with children regarding usage (Ben-Joseph, 2018). Furthermore, customers must remember that any app can have an internet hacking attack which places students at risk of unexpected inappropriate circumstances (Security HQ, 2021). For example, Monday.com was among the apps that were hacked in 2021; therefore, the full extent of illegal activities which occurred are still being uncovered.
According to Shadiev et al. (2017), there are other non-technological warnings regarding the use of these apps. Specifically, when children are involved in poorly structured collaboration activities, they often receive late or unhelpful responses from peers and teachers which result in significantly poor academic outcomes (Shadiev et al., 2017). Therefore, educators and administrators should be aware of this pitfall and the importance of timely feedback. Useful websites regarding Monday.com include the following: 1) Monday.com’s website is https://monday.com, and 2) administrative controls on Monday.com are https://support.monday.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005321509-All-things-Admin. Another useful resource includes http://www.wisekids.org.uk/Kids_safe_search_engines.htm
Description of Marco Polo
Marco Polo is an app which allows video communication in real-time or in recorded messages to individuals or groups. As stated by Jefferson (2020), Marco Polo is unique from other apps on the market as the features resemble fast speed walkie-talkies in which clients can send videos to other people who have opportunities to reply. Customers can create any type of group they would like such as students, friends or family members. Since there is no limit to the length of the videos, users create and share anything they would like with any audience. Also, Marco Polo has no advertisements; therefore, the risk to children is much lower than with other apps as there is no risk of them being directed to anything where minors could spend money or worse.
There are warnings associated with using apps like Marco Polo. These risks include allowing children to get on social media too early, not having clear-cut rules, and assuming that following children digitally will guarantee that they are safe (Fabian-Weber, 2021). In response to these hazards, The United States Department of Justice (2021) recommends that parents review games, apps, and social media sites before they are downloaded or used by children. Additionally, parents should teach body safety and boundaries including the importance of saying no to inappropriate requests.
According to Riggleman and Buchter (2017), there are also legal warnings regarding the use of these apps. Specifically, concerns exist with the privacy and confidentiality of paperwork shared and retrieved from these sites. These apps are using remote servers and web-based services; therefore, poor management and security of identifiable private information should be of utmost concern. These leaked documents or materials can impact students’ futures if they are made available to the public. Useful websites regarding Marco Polo include the following: 1) Marco Polo’s website is https://www.marcopolo.me/, and 2) administrative controls on Marco Polo are https://support.marcopolo.me/article/91-admin-settings. Another beneficial resource includes https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus/keeping-children-safe-online.
Teamwork Chat is a cloud productivity software app that was created in 2007 (Canadawire, 2017), and the program is designed for team project collaboration. According to Canadawire (2017), this app allows clients to envision, create, and move forward with work using a shared board. Specifically, customers can set up their teams as they prefer, and the app allows clients to control their projects. These project elements may include assigned tasks and milestones. Additionally, users can control which participants are added by assigning them as standard users or a collaborators. Overall, these functionalities are beneficial for any group assignment since the features allow customers to recognize when portions are completed in real-time. Then, in response, other clients can then provide feedback as needed by the other members of the group.
There are risks associated with using apps like Teamwork Chat such as children experiencing abuse while engaged with electronic devices. According to The United States Department of Justice (2021), there are warnings that children who are being abused often attempt to conceal online activity, demonstrate withdrawn behaviors, have angry outbursts, anxieties, and depression. Therefore, parents are recommended to be aware of red flags and keep devices in common areas the home so children can be monitored on these devices.
According to Menon et al. (2021), there are also non-technological warnings regarding apps such as Teamwork Chat. Specifically, children often are overstimulated by social media apps and demonstrate significant confusion. These issues often stem from poor organization of online course content and ineffective layouts of collaboration and communication materials. Useful information regarding Teamwork Chat includes the following: 1) Teamwork Chat’s website – https://www.teamwork.com/, and 2) administrative controls on Teamwork Chat are built into the platform. The user should go into each user and determine what the participant should have access to or be restricted from viewing. Another useful resource includes https://www.iwf.org.uk/.
Mother Teresa stated, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things” (Everyday Speech, 2021, para. 4). Similarly, Helen Keller expressed “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” (Everyday Speech, 2021, para. 1). These quotations are well-regarded, and many educators share these beliefs. Specifically, Cordelia and Cregg (2019) discussed how one of the most important aspects of using collaborative approaches are the interest and participation of all people involved. There is evidence that students become more committed to learning when they are engaged in faculty collaboration that is built into the course schedule. Overall, as stated by Ragnedda and Muschert (2018), “self-expression, self-publishing, user engagement, interaction, and collaboration are some of the most celebrated and empowering features of the contemporary web” (p. 198). For your convenience, information presented in this report are published on a blog for review and available to various communities.
References for this Blog and Useful Websites!
Barr, M. & McClellan, G.S. (2018). Budgets and financial management in higher education (3rd ed.). Jossey-Bass.
Ben-Joseph, E. P. (2018). Teaching kids to be smart about social media. Kids Health. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/social-media-smarts.html
Caring for Kids (2018, February). Information for parents by Canada’s pediatricians. https://caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/behavior-and-development/social_media
Cordelia, B. & Clegg, K. (2019). Innovative assessment in higher education: A handbook for academic practioners (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Elgersma, C. (2021, March). 11 social media red flags parents should know about. Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/11-social-media-red-flags-parents-should-know-about
Everyday Power (2021). Empowering collaboration quotes on teamwork and success. https://everydaypower.com/collaboration-quotes/
Fabian-Weber, N. (2021, March 2). 8 dangers of social media to discuss with kids and teens. Care.com. https://www.care.com/c/5-dangers-of-social-media-to-discuss-with-you/
Internet Matters (2020, May 13). What to do if you’ve seen something online that has upset you [Video]. YouTube. https://www.internetmatters.org/issues/inappropriate-content/
Internet Matters (2018a, September 16). What is inappropriate content? Parent advice [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSWtPXma4VY
Internet Matters (2018b, September 16). Protecting children from explicit content online [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJEniHSTPNM
Internet Matters (2018c, September 16). What to do if a child sees explicit adult content online [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXtl5AEYqCk&t=3s
Jefferson, G. (2020, April 30). Marco Polo video chat app to introduce premium features. USA Today (online). https://www.proquest.com/docview/2396402687?parentSessionId=I0ADmfxNgPAqR7h8WkJXpXP8DoPLyw6ZMyGBm5k6tBQ%3D&pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12085
Johnson, H. A. (2018). Slack. Journal of Medical Library Association, 106(1), 148-151. https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2018.315
Karno, D., & Hatcher, B. (2020). Building computer supported collaborative learning environments in early childhood classrooms. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 68(1), 249-267. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11423-019-09686-z
McCaffery, P. (2019). The higher education manager’s handbook: effective leadership and management in universities and colleges (3rd ed.). Routledge.
Latif, M. Z., Hussain, I., Rizwan, S., Qureshi, M. A., & Maqsood, U. (2019). Use of smart phones and social media in medical education: Trends, advantages, challenges, and barriers. Acta Inform Med., 27(2), 133-8. https://doi.org/10.5455/aim.2019.27.133-138
Menon, S. E., & Lucas, V. (2021). Trial by fire: Innovative approaches and evaluation of course transition during COVID-19. Journal of Social Work Evaluation, 57(4), 784-795. https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2021.1957738
Nilson, L. B. & Goodson, L. A. (2017). Online teaching at its best: Merging instructional design with teaching and learning research. John Wiley.
Ragnedda, M. & Muschert, G.W. (2018). Theorizing digital divides. Routledge.
Riggleman, S. & Buchter, J. M. (2017). Using internet-based applications to increase collaboration among stakeholders in special education. Journal of Special Education Technology, 32(4), 232-239. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162643417725882
Salinas, B. (2018, October 9). Marco Polo app promotes more than surface level connection. University Wire. https://www.proquest.com/docview/2117198508?parentSessionId=XS%2BCQd0cERAIthC1Sb%2Bhcl0WBI%2B0dNqNfmMjeTwAoI0%3D&pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12085
Security HQ (2021, May). Cyber security company, Rapid 7, hit by supply chain attack. Software World, 52(3), 26. https://bi-gale-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/global/article/GALE%7CA663469508?u=vic_liberty&sid=summon
Shadiev, R., Hwang, W. Y., Huang, Y. M., & Liu, T. Y. (2018). Facilitating application of language skills in authentic environments with a mobile learning system. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 34(1), 42-52. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12212
Shuffler, J. (2021). Domains/GroupMe.com: Text messaging service looks to redefine social connections. PRweek, 14(5), 19. https://www.proquest.com/docview/868337679?parentSessionId=qjoLQyEKEDZZoiGukYmUXTiRZmXDqNh82szTv45lQgg%3D&pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12085
Teamwork.com introduce boards to rival industry heavyweights trello (2017, April 13). Canada NewsWire. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1886936987?parentSessionId=vbJqr%2BjrV%2BwRdMHC4jCufzRBqa8TwAPI%2BVSaJhz4BBU%3D&pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12085
Todd, D. (2021, November 24). Monday.com marks growth with new London office. Channel Pro. https://www.proquest.com/docview/2601718671?parentSessionId=VlQbVo9%2B2LEH1nq6YVqsUD6UKhMuNz77AJ%2BocfIlgOM%3D&pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12085
The United States Department of Justice (2021, October 25). Keeping children safe online. https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus/keeping-children-safe-online