Not so long ago we shared a Preview of the features we’ll be adding for the upcoming school year, and our CEO and co-founder Colin Bramm shared the vision that is guiding our efforts. For the past few months the product and development teams here at Showbie have been hard at work on one of our biggest updates in recent memory, and we’re happy to say it’s now live!
I’m excited to announce that Showbie 3.0 is now available in the App Store, on our web app at my.showbie.com, and as a Chrome and Windows app. This release introduces Showbie Groups, and it is the first in a series of releases in preparation for the upcoming school year. We hope Groups will enable you, your students, and their parents to put Showbie to use in a variety of new and exciting ways. Read on to find out exactly what Showbie Groups are and how they work!
— Mathew Pullen 💝 (@Mat6453) June 10, 2016
What’s a Group?
Up to this point, Showbie has been organized around classes and assignments. It’s great for completing work and providing feedback, and for sharing and discussing 1-on-1. We had a hunch that there were a lot of ways Showbie could come in handy in the classroom and beyond if it wasn’t always constrained by the assignment folder structure, and this is where Groups comes in.
Invite any combination of teachers, students, and parents, for any purpose you can imagine.
A group is like an assignment folder, in that it can contain comments, voice notes, pictures, annotations, and documents added from other apps. The difference is that the group can be simultaneously accessed by as many members as you like. Invite teachers in your department to share resources in a virtual staff room. Invite students from your classes to discuss projects and collaborate. Invite parents so you can send home information and keep everyone in the loop. Or, invite any combination of teachers, students, and parents, for any purpose you can imagine. We’re really excited to see how our community of Showbie teachers decide to put this feature to use!
In the coming days, our Community Journalist Katie will follow up with some detailed ideas on how you might put groups to use. For now, I’ll give you a tour of the feature and give you a general idea of how it works.
Creating a Group
To get started, name your group, and give a brief description of the group’s purpose. The name and description will introduce your group to members when you send out invites. If you like, you can post a welcome message or some materials to your group immediately, so new members will have something to respond to when they join.
It’s easy to invite others to join your new group, whether or not they’re already using Showbie. If you’re in a room full of people and want them to join a group on the spot, you can share the Group Code, which works just the same as a Showbie Class Code.
You’ll probably want to invite teachers, students, or parents from your school to join your group. In this case, tap Invite Others to Join and you’ll be guided through the process of sending out direct invites. Showbie will pull together a list of teachers, students, and parents you already know on Showbie: teachers who have joined your school or are co-teachers of your classes, students who are in your classes, and even parents of those students. Just choose who you want to invite, and they’ll receive an invite right in their groups list in Showbie, as well as via email and push notification.
It’s easy to invite others to join your new group, whether or not they’re already using Showbie.
If you need to invite someone who isn’t already part of your Showbie universe, you can invite directly from your iOS address book, or you can send or post an Invite Link to a wider audience. Anyone who has the link can follow it to join your group, whether or not they have the iOS app. A few clicks or taps later, they’ll be your latest group member!
Customizing Your Group
Beyond the basics, we’ve included a few simple options to help make groups as flexible and useful as possible. While these settings are currently only available on the iOS app, we’re working on adding them to the web, Chrome app and Windows app soon, and we’ll notify you when this happens.
Sometimes we all just need a little peace and quiet. When you put your group in Announcements Only mode, only owners of the group are able to post new content. This is great for sending home news and information to parents, or creating a student discussion group that’s only active at certain times.
Students & Parents Can Join
By default, anyone with an invite or the group code can join your group. Use the Students & Parents Can Join settings to restrict the group to a specific type of member. Enthusiastic parents crashing your student discussion party? Students sneaking into the staff lounge? These settings will help you keep your groups in line.
We hope your groups will be buzzing with activity, but we understand that you might not want your iPad to be buzzing with notifications for every group that you join. Under My Info, you can choose whether you’d like to receive email and/or push notifications for groups in general. Under Group Info, you can customize these settings on a group-by-group basis.
We have a few ideas on how to make Groups even better, but first we really want to see how you use groups and what you decide to do with it.
Let us know about your best ideas and ways for using Showbie Groups by joining our official group! We’ll be choosing the most creative suggestions for using groups in June, July and August, and if yours is chosen, you’ll win a $250 USD gift card toward the restaurant of your choice to have a party at your school! Join and contribute by visiting https://groups.showbie.com/GROUPS
Thanks for using Showbie, and have a great summer!