Five Tips for Teachers Using Discord
Updated: Jul 30, 2021
Discord is a useful platform for chat and social gatherings online, but it can also be used to support education, especially during remote learning. Teachers are using Discord as a way to meet with students, share class resources, and hold voice and video meetings and conferences. If you are new to Discord, you might think of it as something between group texting and Zoom.
Classroom Discord text channels. (source: Discord.com)
The home base of a Discord classroom is the server. Within the server, you can set up multiple text and voice channels, to accommodate different subjects, groups of students, and purposes.
With hundreds of thousands of servers in existence, I will not attempt to list all of the possible ways to set up a server. For the most complete instructions on setting up a server for your classroom, check out this guide from Discord.
Since there are so many educators exploring Discord as a learning tool, I have done some searching to find out what is working in their classrooms. Here, I will highlight some of the ways I have found teachers to be using Discord to help their students collaborate and learn. I hope you find some useful information here for your own class!
Five Great Teacher Tips for Discord
Set up some rules and make sure participants understand and agree to follow them. This helps prevent inappropriate content and deters bad behavior. For a list of suggested server rules, check here and choose the ones that make the most sense for your class. This tip is from Ryan Cordell.
To keep track of who would like to speak during a group voice chat, have students type a Q into the chat, as a way of raising a hand. This helps moderate the conversation and make sure nobody gets left out of a discussion. Thanks to David E. Speyer for this tip.
Encourage students to participate in the way that they are comfortable. Dr. Mark Bresnan points out that some students who might not speak up during a voice session will contribute thoughtful typed messages.
Use two devices if you can, so you have one for teaching and one for following the comments and questions. Speaking of hardware, a good microphone is important if you will be speaking in the server! Thanks to Odette Jansen for these tips.
Embrace the server as a community space, beyond just a class meeting tool. Lyle Skains points to the way his writing community has used Discord to collaborate, socialize, and stimulate creativity.
Do you have any other tips for using Discord as an educator? I’d love to know what is working for you and your students!