Hi there! I have a Google Apps post for you today. I want to share with you how I use Google Groups for mini-lessons in my classroom, but I figured I should do a post about how to create a Google Group first. So...this is How to Make a Google Group 101.
What is Google Groups?
Google Groups is basically a discussion board. It is a tool to create and manage groups for the purpose of communication. You can have an online discussion board or even have an email thread type discussion, all managed through Google Groups. For my classroom purposes, I don't use the email function because my students don't have email addresses, just Google Apps accounts.
How do I create a Google Group?
Easy! Browse to groups.google.com and you will see this:
To create a group, simply click on the red "Create Group" button at the top of the page. Once you do, you will see this:
You can choose a name and email address for your group. It will tell you if the name and or email address is already taken, so you might have to get creative. It gives you a place to type a description for your group and allows you to choose a primary language.
As you scroll down, you will have a few more options.
For the group type, I chose Web forum. You have the choices of Email list, Web forum, Q&A forum, and Collaborative inbox. As I said, my students don't have email, so I chose Web forum. The type will depend on what you want to do with the group. The permission options allow you to choose which members can do what. For my class, I allow all members to view and post. I require an invitation to join the group. Once you have made your choices, you can click the red "Create" button at the top.
From here you can click ok to view your group, or use one of the links to invite members, customize settings, or start posting. If you click ok, you will get a screen like this:
How do I start a new topic/discussion on my Google Group?
From here, you can add a welcome message for people to see when they visit the group page. I did this for my classroom, although you don't have to have a welcome message.
After you type in and save your welcome message, if you choose to create one, you can start a new discussion by clicking on the "New Topic" button.
You can type a subject for your discussion, which will show on the group's main page once you are done posting the new topic. The "Type of post" box allows you to start a discussion, or post an announcement. For our purposes here, I showed a discussion. If you check the "Display at the top" box, this topic will show at the top of the feed, meaning if you have more than one topic, this one will rise to the top. The "Lock" option will make it so no one can post to the topic until you unlock it. You can type whatever you want into the body of the topic. You can put links in and you have some basic text formatting options. This is the first post and will start the discussion. When you are done editing, click the red "Post" button at the top of the screen.
Now you will return to the group's main page and you will see your new topic. Your group members can click on the topic to read it and reply. This is what they will see:
The members can click in the box to reply. They will have the same basic formatting options you had when you made your initial topic post. Each member's post gets listed below the topic like this:
The posts here all have my name on them because it was just to show you, however it will show the member's name next to his or her post.
How do I add members to my group?
You can click on the "Members" link on the upper right to see all the members of your group. To manage your settings, including adding members, click the "Manage" link.
When you click the "Manage" link, you have several options for adding members. You can invite them via email, or do a direct add. A direct add means you add the member directly to the group, without them having do anything to confirm it. For my purposes here, I'm adding my students, so I do that by direct add. They don't need to accept the invite, in fact, they can't because they have no email address. I choose direct add on the left and type in their Google account addresses. I didn't worry about a welcome message, because it isn't going to send them an email. Below the boxes, you can choose the subscription options for your members. For my students, I chose "No email".
Once you are finished, click the blue "Add" button at the top. Now when your students go to groups.google.com, your group will show up under "My Groups" for each of them. There are other advanced settings down the left side, but we won't go into those today.
There you go! You can now create a Google Group, add your students, and make a post! To see the Grammar mini-lesson I use - click here.
Thank you for coming by TeachingTechNix. I have two more Google Groups related posts for you soon, so stay tuned!