One of the features of Google+ that I love is the Hangouts. The more you use it and search around, the more cool stuff you find. For example, did you know there are scheduled On Air Hangouts with awesome conversations? Like this….
I mean, awesome. Who wouldn’t want to hear that conversation as it happens…live…for free…
But even better, wouldn’t you want your students to participate in an On Air Hangout WITH Bill Nye? Or some other really smart and quirky person? Or what about with kids from another classroom around the world? Well, they can. Join the Connected Classrooms on Google+ and do just that.
Want to connect with teachers from all over the world, but you don’t know how? Join the Google+ Connected Classroom Community and find all kinds of other educators who are eager to chat with your class. And, if you want to refer back to the video chat and watch it later, or have students who are sick and can’t make it into the classroom that day watch it at home while it’s occurring? Just make it On Air and and anyone can watch.
Google+ Presentation for BVSD
Why is Google+ my new bestie? There are so many ways as educators that we can collaborate and communicate through social media…and they all have a purpose. I still use Twitter a bit, but IMHO (in my humble opinion) it has become this odd popularity contest and faux celebrity status, especially during the ISTE2013 conference. And I felt validated in my feelings when Andrew Marcinek wrote a blog post about just that! My fave part:
I’m not trying to argue the merits of Twitter, but simply offer a different path for new teachers looking to test the waters of social media. There are days when I can’t quite grasp the credibility of Twitter voices: the blind re-tweeting, the pseudo celebrity aura, the echo chamber, the hierarchy, the “let’s change the etymology of the word cheating (and every other word in order to show what a progressive, disruptor I am” persona. It’s deafening. And quite frankly, if I were mentoring a new teacher, I’d tell them to hold off on Twitter.
There are many other educators who agree with Mr. Marcinek and me, but many use Twitter religiously and probably do a way better job of filtering out all the noise. To those that ask for people to follow them so they can reach 100,000 followers? Pffftttttt. That’s bunk. Share your experiences, your trials and tribulations, your failures and successes and helpful hints so that others can learn…that’s what being a teacher is all about. Humble pie.
I digress. Google+ is my new bestie. Since most districts are going GAFE, most are allowing at least their teachers to be a part of G+ (btw every time I write G+ in my head I say/sing G Unit like 50¢) if not their students as well. And if I may add my own 2¢ (ha, get it?!), I think all things Google will be in G+ very shortly. As of now, it’s like a backbone of their entire platform that they will slowly build everything on…YouTube is linked to it, Hangouts is linked to it…and pretty soon my guess is Picassa will be entirely linked to it as well.
Why do I love thee?
- G+ allows you to compartmentalize or put put certain people into certain circles, which means wading through the BS retweets on Twitter doesn’t happen here.
- Everyone from work (because you are in GAFE) can easily be put into different circles- or multiple circles- so you can share or not share easily.
- I like that when I post a video on YouTube it can automatically post it in my G+ feed as well (a feature you can always turn off).
- Communities. They are fab. I can follow and/or join communities that are specific to what I want to learn more about and I can create my own! Having a huge and diverse set of PLNs is key to continue growing as an educator.
- I love me some Hangouts. If I can’t make it to a teacher’s classroom or a school for a variety of reasons, or if they can’t make it to a class, meet up in a Hangout! And better yet, wear a crown and a snorkel while meeting!
- It’s really easy. Enough said. When I first started Twitter a few years ago, I had to google how to send a private message. And then realized why bother when I can only type 180 characters? Argh. G+ is easy…you can easily see who you are posting to, you can easily view or not view certain circles, it will #hastag your posts for you (genius). I can schedule a Hangout and it will show up in my calendar and send me the link and reminder email in case I forget. Boom.
- It’s multi-platform…aka I can use it on my computer, iPad, iPhone and Android tablet.
- The photo galleries are easy and awesome…and it will even make and end of the year auto-awesome summary of all your photos and videos, make a highlight reel and easily allows you to tag others or have them tag themselves.
- There are many more reasons that either I haven’t formulated in my brain or they just haven’t happened yet, but I know they will.