Extend Your School Community in a Safe and Managed Space with Schoology Groups
Online groups are an excellent way to build and extend your learning community to live beyond the school bell and to connect with people locally and worldwide.
They can be used to connect, collaborate, share materials, learn “best practices,” and more. There are so many different ways to use the Groups feature in Schoology, and once you start you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
A great thing about online groups is any communication shared, whether it be social chit chat in the social media styled updates area or in-depth, ongoing discussions – the information is saved and can be reviewed and returned to.
With Schoology groups, managing the extracurricular and academic collaborative groups in your learning community (such as sports teams, drama productions, debating teams, the science faculty, the BoT, SLT teams etc.) is made both efficient and easy.
Groups are contained and managed within a private, secure online environment, unlike Facebook, which inadvertently creates a loss of privacy for teachers by forcing them to take part using their personal Facebook profile. Facebook also places distracting, off topic media in front of students. Facebook usage laws require users to be 14, thus eliminating primary, intermediate and junior high school students and anyone not on Facebook from taking part.
Members of Schoology Groups are kept up to date with information, shared resources, online discussions and can access and interact with media albums that support a range of video, image and file types. The members in each group can comment and download media album materials from the group (optional in settings).
An example of a Schoology Group in Action
Using Schoology Group is to coordinate a school camp makes sense. Within the group are both teachers, parent helpers and non-attending parents of the students going.
Together they collaborate on the best tramps and tracks, food lists, meal plans, kitchen rosters, supervision rosters, transport and more. They share maps, recipes, knowledge of the local area and must do activities in the form of social media styled posts and also uploading documents, images and videos. In addition, non-attending parents chime in with suggested games and ways to entertain students should the unpredictable weather serve up an inside day.
During the camp photos and video are taken and uploaded directly to a media album in the group – immediately accessible to parents not attending the camp.
On the way back from the camp a bulk message is sent out to all non-attending parents letting them know that a number of roadworks on the way home have cause a 45 minute delay and not to worry, everyone is safe albeit a little tired and in need of a quiet space and early night. There’s even a phot of the back of the van showing half the kids asleep and it’s 2:30pm! (This message is immediately accessed via the waiting parents mobile phones).
Powerful stuff huh?
School camps, sports teams, leadership teams, faculty groups, school productions, fundraising groups, well-being & support groups +
Schoology Groups give the ability to schedule and hold a conference call within the group itself, consisting of anyone with an invite and a Schoology account – regardless of their geographic location.
These people can be anywhere in the world and as long as they have a device and an internet connection, they can take part in all aspects of the group. The opportunities this provides for bringing in guest speakers and holding board meetings etc are endless and exciting.
Sports teams love Schoology Groups
Changes to sports practices, location of game venue and even cancellations can happen at the drop of a hat. A quick message from the coach to the group will ensure everyone in the group is instantly aware of any changes that need to be communicated.
The information the coach shared will arrive as a notification on each group members mobile phone in Schoology’s award winning FREE mobile app. This same notification can also be received via a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. Both parents and students appreciate the easy , on-the-go sharing Schoology enables through the mobile app.
Bulk messages can be sent out from a single source to all or selected sports groups to inform of bulk weather cancellations and any other message that needs to be sent quickly to all groups.
Here are few other things you can do with Schoology Groups:
You can post a Poll in your group to receive live feedback as members vote.
Updates are meant to be brief messages posted to your group. When updates are posted to your group, they will appear in the Updates section of your group and within the overall Recent Activity News Feed on your personalised Schoology homepage.
Hold conference calls with members locally, nationally or globally in attendance.
Create interest groups such as rugby, astronomy & sci-fi, pop singers etc to create a safe and secure, teacher moderated spaces for students to connect and share their ideas and interests with others (creates community).
Groups can be used to provide a space for new teachers to connect and learn about your school and interact with other teachers in a less confronting way.
Divide students into project groups in your class and give them each a collaborative group to within. Students love the responsibility of managing and working with in their own private environment (overseen by you the teacher).
Groups can support a collaborative project with another school on the other side of the world. There’s a great video about an Australian school who ran a global weather study with over 70 other classrooms around the world and a Schoology group was used to manage the project. Students arrived to school each day to find shared video, pictures and messages from students across the world!
Watch the video here:
There are so many ways to use Schoology to build groups that reflect the nature and structures of your unique learning community. This article has touched on just a few.
If you’d like to talk to us about how groups could support you and your organisation feel free to get in touch and let’s chat.