Getting Started with Kialo for Educators

When first getting started with Kialo Edu, you’ll find that there are a few things to get acquainted with. This guide will help you understand the different parts of Kialo and how they all come together to make Kialo an effective platform for teachers and students.

Tip: If you’re looking for a simple step-by-step guide to setting up your first classroom debate, see our guides to trying out a classroom debate for High School and Colleges & Universities.

This article is broken down into two sections: Basics of Kialo, which explains the “building blocks” of Kialo you should know about, and Common Processes on Kialo, which outlines how some of these basics interact with each other.

Basics of Kialo


Kialo discussions are where the debating takes place.

Discussions are made up of claims, which are, in their simplest form, a single piece of an argument – such as a premise or a supporting piece of research. They come in the form of either a pro, which argues for the claim above it, or a con, which argues against.

At the top level of a discussion is a “thesis” (or multiple theses), which is the statement students argue for or against. As the thesis is the starting point of the discussion, it’s important to pick one that facilitates what you want your students to discuss (see Writing an Effective Thesis for more information).

See a Demo Classroom Debate for an example discussion.

Roles and Permissions

In a Kialo discussion, each user can have one of six roles: Owner, Admin, Editor, Writer, Suggester, or Viewer. Each role gives the user different permissions, so it’s important to understand what each role can do (giving students the power to delete each other’s claims can sometimes be problematic!). The Participant Roles and Permissions article outlines what each role has permission to do, as well as how to adjust them in a discussion.

Usually, students should have the Writer role in class discussions, while teaching staff have the Owner and Admin roles.


Organizing your students into teams allows you to save time while performing common tasks on Kialo, such as inviting students to discussions. When students are in a team, only the team needs to be invited to the discussion, rather than having to manually invite each student. See About Teams for more information.

Common Processes on Kialo

Creating Discussions and Inviting Students

Creating a discussion for students to debate in is probably one of the first things you’ll want to do on Kialo. After you’ve created one, you’ll need to invite your students to participate – using an Instant Access Link is the simplest way to do so when getting started.

Creating Teams and Organizing Students

As outlined in the section above, teams are an important part of using Kialo in the classroom. When dealing with a large group of students, there are several ways to organize students into teams, depending on the desired outcome. The Organizing Students into Groups article is a step-by-step guide which outlines the easiest ways to get students into teams depending on your preferences.

Grading Discussions: Using Grading and Feedback

When assessing a student discussion, the Grading and Feedback tool allows you to grade students and leave feedback directly on student claims, keeping the feedback hidden until you’re ready to release it. See Using the Grading and Feedback Feature for more information.

Using the Clone and Invite Wizard

If you want students or groups of students to work in their own instances of a discussion, the Clone and Invite Wizard makes it easy to do so. The Clone and Invite Wizard lets you pick one discussion you’ve created, create copies of it for individuals or groups of students, and then invite them to it.

This means if you want students to work in their own copy of a discussion, you only have to create one discussion – the Clone and Invite Wizard clones the discussion the appropriate number of times and configures the correct permissions for you. See Using the Clone and Invite Wizard for more information.

Embedding Discussions in your Website or LMS

Kialo discussions can be embedded directly into your institution’s website or LMS platform, allowing students to work on Kialo Edu without navigating away from their student portal. See Embedding a Kialo Discussion for general information on embedding discussions, or Embedding Kialo in Learning Management Systems for LMS-specific instructions.

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