The Commons is a robust platform that enables multiple entry-points for student communication and collaboration. There are many different ways to share, different venues to post within, different permissions, and different privacy settings. Don’t hesitate to contact your Digital Program Consultant (@akelly, @jealliso, @kawilson, @jarbenne) to talk about the options available or talk to colleagues who are already using the platform. One of the key advantages of a board platform is that support can be more easily deployed, and we all speak the same language when we talk about customization options.
Given how much you can customize the platform for your needs, there is no “right answer” on how to use the site.
I would tell the students not to post on the main activity feed unless they have something to share that they think is not only appropriate, but relevant to a K-12 audience. It’s noisy in the stream, and although we can see the virtue of allowing board-wide conversations, as a starting off point most students aren’t ready to post constructively in that realm right away.
The first day in the Commons should be spent creating an avatar, and “following” each other. Following your students allows you to subscribe to all of their contributions on the Commons, whether that is a blog post, a comment on someone else’s blog, a post on a board blogging initiative (eg. Forest of Reading, The Bulldogs Literacy Site) or a question in the Support forum. This gives you a much clearer picture of how the students are contributing, beyond merely being privy to the posts they are putting on your site.