Community members may create groups for the following reasons:
- Colleagues want to collaborate on cross-curricular, multi-grade lessons
- Parents can gather and read newsletters and organize volunteer activities for the school and classroom
- Students may pose questions on homework or discuss starter questions that their teacher creates to extend their learning beyond the classroom (if they are at least thirteen years of age)
Let’s take a moment to think a little more about how to create a community group.
Video Instructions for Creating a Group:
Now, think about how creating a community group can be an immediate asset in your professional life by allowing online dialogues to take place outside of the classroom and encouraging 21st century learning.
Educators and administrators can collaborate on a document in a private group. Let’s also think for a moment about the number of times you have answered the same question (via email or phone). Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document or an open discussion in a members-only parent group, where parents could read FAQs or pose questions? Instead of students only going to the teacher for the correct answer, a secret community group can encourage students to learn from multiple sources, such as each other, experts who are invited into the group, or online resources posted for their review.
This key will help you understand the differences among group designations:
- Open - Membership is open and non-members can view content and participate.
- Members Only - Membership is open and non-members can view content, but they must join to participate.
- Private - Membership is by approval/invitation only and only members can view content and participate.
- Secret - Membership is by invitation only, only members may participate, and the group is not listed in the group directory.
Furthermore, group members can upload documents, images, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and more (up to 50MB each). Think how much easier it could be for students to submit assignments and get classmates to provide feedback. Announcements (posted in red at the top of the page) could alert students/parents to an upcoming project, exam, school closing, etc. Polls could help review content, elicit interest in an upcoming lesson, and more! Bookmarks could link students to websites to assist them in completing assignments or students and parents to help them better understand the concepts discussed in the classroom.
In addition to asking friends and colleagues to join the community, you have the opportunity to form new professional relationships with other educators in the community who teach the same subject matter, are from the same state, or have similar interests by joining groups. You may draw on each other as experts for your students or set up a group to have two classes in different geographic locations work together and investigate a theory or compete in an academic decathlon.
To see current groups in Thinkfinity, select Browse > Places on the dark red navigation bar at the top of the page.
The default view for places will show all of the spaces and groups currently available at Thinkfinity.org. You may select social groups. You can locate groups whose members have interests similar to your own by entering keywords that may have been used as tags (e.g. history, Virginia, or middle) to narrow the list, adding filters for date created, last activity, or title. Given the time, browse groups, visiting those that intrigue you and joining those of interest. It is easy to select Join a group or Leave a group in the Actions menu for each group.
Find a Thinkfinity group of interest to you and join. Please also participate in our discussion for Lesson 6. Take a moment to reflect and share how you plan to use Thinkfinity community groups with your colleagues, your parents, or your students.
Optional Task: Join one of this group's sandboxes (The specified item was not found., TPLC TPLC Sandbox 2, TPLC Sandbox 3, TPLC Sandbox 4, or TPLC Sandbox 5). Content will be deleted every two weeks, so feel free to play:
- Reply to a discussion, start a discussion, add tags, add text, check your spelling, add a link, insert an image, attach a file.
- Practice writing a blog, add tags, insert an image, add text, click on the image and select the align left or align right icon on the editing bar to wrap text, add a link, attach a file.
- Create a Poll, remember that the poll will be visible by all members.
Anyone may request to be upgraded to Administrator for one of the sandboxes by sending their request to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will give you insight into the differences between joining a group and creating and owning a group. You can even practice changing the layout, add widgets and remove widgets.
For ideas on how to create a group page layout, we encourage you to view other open Thinkfinity community groups for ideas. You also will want to review the All About: Communities and Groups document for more assistance. We also have a Group Owners group for those of you who want to talk with owners of groups and gather ideas for starting a group, maintaining a group and gaining membership in your group.