Reach your school or region with Google Groups
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
- Create a (public or private) Google Group discussion forum
- Invite another person to a Google Group
- Post to a Google Group using the web forum or email
The following scenarios show examples of how educators use Google Groups in their classrooms.
Discuss school issues
Ms. Tomsk is happy. She is the head of a secondary school, and she cannot wait to talk to all the students about a new, future school building. She wants to receive student input on the design of the building. Today, she has a discussion with the entire school and short discussions with each classroom. The problem is the short discussion is not enough time for all the students to share their feelings, give feedback, and make suggestions. Ms. Tomsk usually faces this problem with large issues facing the school community.
During one class discussion, she has time to hear from one student who, instead of sharing thoughts on the school building, offers a way for more people to share thoughts. He suggests that the school use a discussion forum or email list. Ms. Tomsk likes the idea, researches it, and starts a Google Group for this issue. She dedicates 3 staff members to help read through the posts and respond. Now all the students feel they are heard, and she consolidates common online suggestions to discuss together at the next school meeting.
Post class announcements
A 10th grade English teacher, Mr. Pfeifer finds that his classes feel rushed, and he never quite gets to close them effectively. Mr. Pfeifer wants to ensure he is using class time effectively. He decides to use students to help measure the duration of different parts of the class period or lesson. He discovers that he often spends 5-10 minutes making school-wide or class-wide announcements and answering questions about announcements.
After talking to his principal, he decides to use create a Google Group Email list for all 10th grade student announcements. Now, he makes announcements and discusses questions with his students online, outside of class. It has reduced the amount of time spent answering questions about announcements in class. According to his measurements he has, on average, an extra seven minutes of class time which he uses for evaluation, feedback, or making better closings of his lessons.
Ms. Leftieru is a foreign language, public school teacher and an officer in the national teacher’s union. Her country is facing budget problems, a large deficit, and a growing national debt. Additionally, 42% of public schools are failing a majority of each school’s student population. There is pressure to remove underperforming teachers and principals as well as reduce the teacher workforce to decrease government expenses. There is a debate about how this should be done, and the teachers want to participate in this conversation with the government. However, due to poor infrastructure and roads, travel at night is dangerous and takes a long time.
Many teachers cannot make the teacher’s union meeting even though they want to participate. At an officer’s meeting, during an ice breaker activity, a teacher named Roxana suggests the union create an online discussion group to organise the teachers. That night, Ms. Leftieru creates the web forum. Within three weeks, she has twice as many actively contributing members than the number that attend monthly meetings.
Share files with students
Ms. Rakotomalala has been using computer and internet technology to teach her 7th and 8th grade literature students. However, it takes her a very long time to email stories, readings, and other files to each of her students. One day, a fellow teacher shows her how to put all the email addresses of a class of students into one Google Group email address. Now she emails an entire class by using one email address, saving her hours throughout the year. She even creates a Google Group for all her class groups so that she can use one email address for all of her students. After telling the principal this, the principal creates a Google Group for the whole school which enables the principal to share forms, permission slips, and announcements very quickly with the entire student body.
Create a (public or private) Google Group
To create a Google Group:
- Navigate to groups.google.com
- Click Create group. The Create a group page is displayed.
- Describe the group. Refer to Establish general information for further information about these options.
- Select a group type. Refer to Select a group type for further information about these options.
- Set basic permissions. Refer to Set basic permissions for further information on these options.
- Click Create. The group is created.
Invite another person to a Google Group
To invite others to join a Google Group:
- Navigate to groups.google.com.
- Click My groups. Below the names of groups you own or manage, you will see the word Manage.
- Click Manage for the group to which you want to invite new people. Left navigation menu items appear, including Members, Messages, and Settings.
- Click Members. Several items are listed.
- Click Invite members. The Add/Invite members screen appears.
- Type the email addresses in the Enter email addresses field of people to invite to your group. Separate each email address by a comma.
- Type an invite message in the Write an invitation message field.
- Click Send invites. The invites are sent.
Send a post to a Google Group using the web forum or email
To send a post to a Group using Email:
- Navigate to gmail.com.
- Compose an email to the email address of the Google Group. Depending on their notification setting, all members will receive it.
To send a post to a Group using a web forum:
- Navigate to groups.google.com.
- Click My groups.
- Click the group to whom you want to post a message. From the Topics screen, click on the New topic button. A "New topic in "[group_name]" screen appears.
- Select the type of post (discussion, question, or announcement) The type of posts available will depend on the settings of the group.
- Discussion - A general post and response interaction usually available to all members of a group.
- Question - A formal type of discussion. Questions can have a workflow associated with and can be assigned to other members to answer, for example.
- Announcement - A topic containing important information from the administrators for all members.
Part A. Create a Google Group and invite a member.
- Create a Google Group with the following characteristics.
- Choose any title or name for the group you wish.
- Write this exact group description - “This is the best group for the school!”
- Invite a friend or colleague to join the group.
Part B. Post a message to a group.
Post a message to the course Group below. Tell us how you anticipate using Groups in your school or classroom!
Part C. How will you use this tool?