Learning w/Google+/Hangouts

Google Plus used to be known as a ghost town. A social network site with far fewer members than the behemoth that is facebook. However, the recent 2013 Meeker report shows that even though Google+ is still behind facebook and youtube, its catching up with twitter

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At VCU we use Google apps, and as a consequence our email is tightly integrated with the broader google ecosystem. Thus I have over time explored the features of Google+ and would like to share a few ideas on how it can be used in education.

  • Share with specific groups: In Google+ its very easy to create and add people to specific circles. Once that circle is created you can then choose to share content with only that circle.

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Circles are a very convenient way to easily share images, video and documents with specific people.

  •  Organize a hangout w/students: Google Hangout is tightly integrated with Google’s apps suite. A hangout can be scheduled through events, started right from a text chat or through the Google+ page. Up to 10 people can be together in a hangout session. An extension of this is a hangout on air which broadcasts a hangout live on to the organizer’s Youtube page and Google plus page. The link to the live video broadcast can also be embedded on any website for viewing.
  • Work Collaboratively: Within a Hangout users can open up and collaboratively author Google Docs.Users can also watch pull up Youtube videos to watch within a Hangout whilst interacting with each other.

 

  • Provide hands on help remotely:  Remote Desktop which used to be a browser only screen sharing tool is now available as an app within Google Hangouts. By enabling this app users can remotely control others users desktop.
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  •  Aggregate/discover content w/hashtags: Twitter introduced hashtags back in 2007. Hashtags are used to label topics, groups, events and conferences to name a few. Hashtags have become pervasive in our culture and are a unique way to promote sharing and discovery.  For myself I always find it fun to search for hashtags like #elearning, #moocs, #ipads for anything that I’m interested in knowing about. Its a great way to discover experts working in fields you might be interested in. For the purposes of learning its a great way to have students organize any useful resources they find which can then be discovered by other students using hashtags.

So here are a few ideas on how useful Google+/Hangouts can be. There will probably be a million other ways to use it as more apps become integrated. Personally I have found Google+/hangouts to be a great tool for finding people in the field of Instructional technology to follow.

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