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How To: Use Groups as a Personal Learning Platform (tips for students/teachers)

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A Thinkfinity Group can easily be set up by the teacher and used as a Personal Learning Platform with students. After creating a group, teachers and students can post and respond to discussions, collaborate on documents, post classroom documents, link to Internet resources, or maintain a classroom blog. Below are tips for both teachers and students who are using groups as a Personal Learning Platform.



Tips for Students


  • Follow social netiquette guidelines and the Community Conduct Guidelines
    • Avoid bullying, threats, profanity, etc.
    • Stay on topic when replying to a discussion to be respectful of other classmates' time
    • Show professionalism and respect for others' comments
    • Avoid typing in all capital letters which indicates shouting
    • Construct contributions as suggestions
    • Challenge ideas in a respectful manner
    • Start with a positive comment
    • Choose words carefully and consider tone
    • Be moderate in your contributions, be clear and concise and do not post lengthy responses
    • Make sure you address any specific questions posed in the initial posting
    • Ask questions


  • Maintain a positive tone in expressing your thoughts
    • Remember that what you write represents who you are
    • Be careful with humor and sarcasm--both are easily misunderstood

  • Use an avatar (a photo that represents you) instead of a personal picture


  • Support stated opinions with facts and reliable sources


  • Review your post before publishing
    • Make certain your comments are relevant to the discussion
    • Use correct spelling and grammar (look for the spell check icon, an abc with a green checkmark icon)


  • "Friend" only community members you know--classmates and teachers
    • Include in your "friend" invitations that you are a classmate
    • Accept "friend" invitations only from people in your class
    • Make a commitment to the group to join the conversation


Tips for Teachers

  • Set up your group
    • Provide a group picture and group description
    • Select Privacy level. We recommend "Private" or "Secret" status for classroom groups.
    • Customize your group overview page with appropriate widgets
    • Learn more about groups: How To: Use Groups


  • Offer collaboration and communication opportunities
    • Use blogs for announcements (one-way communication) -- How To: Create and Customize Blog Posts
    • Use discussions for two-way communication
    • Use the group documents to create collaborative assignments
    • Upload documents and content items (limit uploaded documents to 50 MB)


  • Be the guide on the side
    • Serve as group moderator
    • Encourage discussion and communication
    • Check in often to keep the conversation moving
    • Encourage students to reply to classmates' questions if they know the answer.
    • Oversee group participants and their activities within the group


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