Librarians:

CPS recently launched Google Groups & Google Groups. This message pertains to any teacher in a regular CPS school (not charter). We would like to see librarians be on the forefront of using these tools to support your library program and your students. This is a game-changer for us, so please take the time to become familiar with the tools. Here are some important points:

GROUPS
  • You can now create Groups yourself. Groups allows you to create discussion communities around shared interests and topics. Librarians may want to create a teacher group for general announcements, book/article discussions, committee work, etc. Note: Talk to your administrator before creating a general group for all of the teachers, as s/he may want to create the group or have someone else do it. In high schools, you may want to have departmental groups, but it's likely that the department chair may want to create the group. So, be sure to work with your colleagues to do what is best in your school's situation.
  • Groups are currently only for members of the CPS domain, so you cannot plan groups that involve parents or others without cps.edu accounts. When you do set up a group, carefully go through the settings to learn how to invite members and manage the group. Once we see what type of training is provided to CPS, the Dept of Libraries may provide supplemental training specifically for librarians.
  • The true game-changer is in using groups for students, so jump on this right away. Now, you can have groups around a certain class, research group, book club discussion, etc. Intentionally use Groups to foster critical thinking skills and to support project-based learning. Incorporate it into assessment as a required part of an assignment. Groups will support the development of writing skills, collaboration, respect for the viewpoints of others. Very exciting!


SITES
  • See below for the full ITS message about Groups and Sites. Note that Sites are only available on a request basis and students cannot request sites at this time.
  • You may want to immediately request a site to support your library program. You'll likely want to create a General Purpose site initially.
  • These sites will not be visible to people outside of the CPS domain, so you may want to keep your current general library website/wiki to showcase student work publicly for parents and community members.
  • Make it a point to become an expert in Sites this year. (The Dept of Libraries will offer complementary training specifically for librarians to build upon ITS training - once launched.)
  • Don't stop with a site that just shares your hours, links to databases, rules, etc. Once you get comfortable with the basics of Sites, use the tool intentionally with your students around their learning needs.
  • Use with students to create electronic pathfinders on specific research projects and project-based learning activities. Set up pages to serve as elementary library "Digital Centers". You can set pages to hold attachments to your handouts. As you learn about Sites, you can create page-level permissions that can allow students to comment on a certain page, creating an additional avenue of assessment and collaboration.
For now, either dive in or dip into using these two great new tools! See below for the ITS announcement. Watch for updates, as available.
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Google Groups
Google Groups allows you to create shared mailing lists OR to create discussion boards.


Go to http://cps.edu/groups to create Groups.


When you create your Group, the default settings allow only you to send to the members of the Group. If you want everyone in the Group to be able to send to one another, you’ll have to go into Google@CPS, click Groups (black navigation bar), find your Group, click Manage, then change the Permissions for who can post.


You can also more quickly populate the Group by following the above directions, clicking Manage, then Direct Add Members. We’ll provide additional instructions and training soon!
Google Sites
Google Sites allows you to create and share your own websites. Before you request a Site, be sure to think about how you will use it. (Note that Sites are not available to external audiences.)


Personal Sites can be used to share information about your subjects/courses, for example. Create a personal Site and then create subpages for each of your classes. Then, share the link with your students.General Purpose Sites can be used to share project, team, school or club information.


Go to http://www.cps.edu/googlesites to request a Site.(Please allow up to three business days for your Site to be created during this initial phase.)


We’ll provide specific training on Sites at a later date. In the meantime, you can view the Gone Google Site for more information.