What can educators do with Google Hangout?
Much like being friends on social media, physical proximity has little to do connecting people with other people. Google Hangouts has successfully made communication between individuals or groups and accessing information a bit easier and some may save they even have shrunk the world.
“Do you want to Hangout later?” has a new social context these days
Hangouts have the ability to allow people to message, video chat, make voice calls (download Hangout Dialer from google play), and broadcast on air and have it archived.
During a Hangout, you can see and hear the other party on your screen as well as conduct back-channel discussions in the Chat bar and share other documents on your screen. You can even use it for screencasting.
The educational implications are simply amazing!
For me, the power lies in fostering collaboration and connecting people that wouldn’t otherwise connect:
- Could you imaging the experience of a classroom talking with J.K. Rowling after reading one (or all) of her Harry Potter books? Or talking with a Presidential candidate about his or her platform?
- On a smaller scale, students can connect with experts in the field to learn more about a particular topic and even take a virtual field trip (no permission slips needed!). There’s even a Google+ Community just for setting up those field trips.
- Students who are sick or not able to make it to school, can still feel connected with their class.
- At Shadow Ridge Middle School, one class used Google Hangout to create an online archive of work they did for a discussion on Ray Bradbury books:
- Teachers could also do a weekly broadcast to let parents know what is happening in classroom and ask for parents feedback.
- These classrooms in two very different locations in Vermont — Warren Elementary School and The Cabot School — used Google Hangouts to compare their reactions to the same assigned reading books:
The best resource I have come across is from #eduhangout where ideas are broken down into subject disciplines as well ways to communicate with your school community and ways to develop your PLN (Personal Learning Network).
How can you get started with Google Hangouts?
Don Taylor, of Main Street Middle School, hosted and recorded a series of Google Hangouts this past spring around the concept of Personal Learning Plans. You can watch recordings of the sessions online, to see how they work, and if PLPs are your thing (Hi Vermont!) the first Hangout of the new season is taking place September 24th, supported by us. Plan to attend! We’ll have more details here, as they emerge.
If you’re new to using Google Hangouts, Washington D.C.-based educator Sarah Thomas has a series of startup guides for educators, aimed at taking you from attending one, to being comfortable participating in them, to hosting your own.
Hangouts are critical for teachers and students as they extend their personal/professional learning networks, enriching the interpersonal experience beyond asynchronous tools. It helps pave the way to more ubiquitous learning opportunities as students pursue more personalized and meaningful learning opportunities which may only be available beyond the school walls.
All in all, Hangouts are a game changer. Connecting people to people and people to information! Does it get any better!
Resources: A complete guide to Google Hangouts
Need to catch up on your edtech ABCs? Check out the full series here.