Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Google+ for Education: Part 1

Lisa Nielsen's first impressions and thoughts after 1 week with Google+. I also see a lot of potential for education. What Does Google + Mean for Education:
I became a Google + user this week and I like it.  From what I can tell it lets you do pretty much everything Facebook lets you do with some bonuses including being able to edit your status updates and comments and that you can select who the feed goes to via the circle(s) in which you share your updates.  The circles I'm using are colleagues, co-workers, GTA, friends, family, volleyball.  The status updates still don't have a feature which I really want:  nesting of comments.  Is that really so hard???  It does let you tag people in your status which I find useful.

Another cool feature is hanging out.  This lets you connect with up to ten people via audio, video, and chat and from my experience it works rather seamlessly.  It also has a YouTube video share which I think will be powerful as a teaching and learning tool.  While as an educator, my initial thought was only ten people?  My next thought was, the reality is that it is difficult to have meaningful discussions with more than ten people.  The rule of ten might in fact result in much more interesting and effective learning.  For instance:
  • What if students were empowered to lead hang out discussions and if necessary the teacher could move from discussion to discussion.  
  • What if the teacher set discussions with groups of students as it made sense.
  • This could be great for meetings of educators who are not from the same school.  Think librarian hangouts, science teacher hangouts, etc.
  • This is a nice tool that could be more efficient for staff who are located in different districts.  Rather than spend time commuting, just set up a hang out.

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