I’m interested in what teams are using as their communication platform for team members, as our team has been through a couple of platforms in the past couple of years. Currently, we use a service called Bitrix24. Do you pay for communications? Are you happy with your ability to reach out to communicate with members?
4571 (and our school) uses an App called Remind. It’s great because it pushes notifications to students via text and email and overall makes it easier to have them get the communication. It’s not perfect, but it lowers the barrier to communication. http://www.remind.com
We used to use Remind and GroupMe. Now, we use Slack for free. I really like the platform because of the integrations.
Up until this recent offseason, my team used Groupspaces (a mass email service). We’ve recently jumped ship to Groupme, which seems to be pretty well received overall.
Slack became our primary coordination platform about a year ago. There’s still a fair amount of direct messaging on e-mail and text, though probably more among the mentors than the students. Prior to slack, we used text blast as primary and e-mail as backup.
Our team has been using slack as recently as this year. We still use email for some communication but are loving the platform. Using channels to subdivide conversations between tasks is great and the integrations are also pretty cool.
Private Facebook group, the majority of students already have an account that they check regularly which solves the biggest issue of any communication platform. The “Like” system keeps relevant info at the top and we get instant feedback on who has viewed the post and whatever questions they might have.
Slack all the way. Team 8 has been using it since Winter of 2014-2015 and it has basically replaced email.
Benefits of slack:
- Centralized communication with all team members and mentors, easily separating robotics and personal stuff
- Channels to organize discussion and keep related topics in one place
- Tons of integrations and features (google calendar, google drive, dropbox, github, etc)
- Slack Standard is free for all non-profits and heavily discounted for organizations affiliated with educational institutions
10/10 would recommend. If you want to try it out, slack is free with a message limit of 10,000 saved messages in message history, then unlimited when you begin to pay.
4901 used GroupMe and Remind. Remind was a must, GroupMe was highly recommended.
We use a Google Groups mailing list (no one goes to the actual website as far as I know) for long term things, and we use GroupMe when attention is needed quickly.
Our team uses a combination of email and Kik Messenger. Only the students (and one of our college mentors) get messages from a group chat on Kik, and all the parents and everyone else gets emails too. Most of the time a message in the group chat on Kik would say something along the lines of “Check your email, Rich (our lead mentor) just sent something out about this week”. Everyone on our team can get Kik either with their phone or with the iPad the school provides, so it works well for us.
We are trying Bootcamp this year. It is an online project management service that is free for schools.
The jury is still out, but it is looking promising. You can use your normal computer or the mobile device app.
It is possible to set up multiple sub-teams and/or projects with milestones and dues dates with scheduled prompts for everyone to add their input/update. It also has several areas for online messaging and brainstorming. It also allows for file uploads and linking to google docs.
So far I am pleased. Check out the video on the link I posted.
Basecamp is great, and free for educators as mentioned. They recently added an instant messaging system called pings ( to better compete with Slack) and we use it all the time for private conversations.
The one thing I’ve found is that there are so many features, you need to implement a bit of team policy to keep it useful. Most importantly, conversations should be kept in their own message board threads, and people should be careful to make sure only the right people are on the notification list. Since all replies are “reply all”, information can be quickly buried in “me too” or other unrelated posts if you’re not careful.
My team has been using Remind forever and it works great. GroupMe is also great with large groups.
Per the marketing director at Basecamp (Andy), they are giving out FREE business accounts to teams… Set up an account at basecamp.com and then email your address you set it up with to firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll get you switched to free. Email email@example.com if you have any questions
5498 uses GroupMe for team communication. It’s free and easy, plus students almost always have it for other things anyways, so it’s convenient.
Edit: wait did I just reply to necro spam
Edit 2: alright probably not spam but certainly a necro
we used discord for mainly everything but when it comes to scheduling, we’re using timetree
We have been using Slack for a few years, but last year was the first year that it really got some traction, and this year everyone seems to be on board with it. We have separate channels for our sub-teams, though our team is small enough that most people seem to follow most of the channels. We have channels for scheduling, finance, travel, and similar things, as well as the obvious strategy, mechanical, electrical, software, etc.
We used to use email, but this year we startde transitioning to discord
We use Slack, and most teams that I know of use Slack or a Slack-like product. Through our school’s 501c3, we were able to get Slack for Nonprofits for free, which means that we get all of the nice features without the price.
Alternatives that I know some teams use are Teams (Office 365), Mattermost (Open Source), and Rocket Chat (Open Source), but they are very close to the feature set that Slack has.
I am frustrated that many of our students don’t check Slack often. This Build Season, we decided that all communication would happen over Slack, and if you don’t check Slack, you don’t have the information. This has caused more people to be on Slack, but we still have the majority who don’t check it often.
We evaluated Discord, and we decided that it didn’t have the feature set we wanted from a system (primarily the lack of threads).
My favorite features of Slack are:
- Threaded Messages (our channels are chaos)
- API Integrations (yay Scouting debugging notifications)
- Linux client
- No infrastructure that we have to manage
- Not limited to just one workspace on the desktop client (because I have a workspace for Chatops)
- Google Drive file previews
I think that our lack of usage is more than just a slack problem and reflects larger cultural issues regarding long-term commitment since I know many teams have close to 100% of their students and mentors checking it frequently. It definitely is not a problem with the software, since it is one of the easiest to use tools ever.
I do want to offer quickly that if teams like using Facebook Groups, it might be worth checking out Facebook Workplace. You can have multiple groups, greater management, and it seems to be less aggressive at tracking. Best of all, it doesn’t need to be linked to your primary Facebook account.