Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Guest Post: Introducing Google+ Hangouts to Teachers

As early adaptors of technology, facilitators of interdisciplinary projects, and purveyors of all things information at our schools, we media specialists are in the perfect position to introduce Google+ hangouts to our teachers.

Why? It’s all about collaborating and connecting, and Hangouts make it easy and, yes, fun!

Mentioned as the "killer app" of Google Plus, Hangouts started just under two years ago, in September 2011. Hangouts on Air, recorded Hangouts, went worldwide in May 2012. 

Although the technology is very young, educators are already reaping the value of this robust video conferencing tool.

An ongoing survey I created for a GAFE Hawaii Summit presentation in January 2013 demonstrates the variety of ways teachers throughout the world (and one of our students!) are already using Hangouts:

If you are using or considering using G+ Hangouts, please consider adding your name and information to this growing list. Simply fill out this form:

Your answers will automatically appear in the results.

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We're just beginning to explore Google+ Hangouts as a communication forum at our school

1. Our technology coordinator Mr. Jon Toda enabled Google Plus (which is needed in order to participate in Hangouts) for all teachers in the spring. 

2. This summer, chemistry teacher Mrs. Evelyn Lacanienta requested Google Plus access for two recent graduates so that she could communicate with them as they pursue their college studies in medicine. So Mr. Toda opened up Google Plus access not only for those graduates, but for the entire Class of 2013, as well as for the Classes of 2011 and 2012. (Our graduates' retain their school email accounts.)

2. Our tech staff (Mrs. Roberta Hodara, Mr. Louis Turbeville, Mr. Toda and myself) is experimenting with weekly Office Hours hangouts this summer.

This letter was sent to teachers to encourage them to participate:

So far so good! More than a dozen teachers have already participated in these weekly events to one degree or another, and we hope to get more teachers on board.

3. Some of our teachers are already making Hangouts their own. For example, our college counselor Ms. Stephanie Nelson has plans for Seniors to communicate with college representatives, via Hangout. To facilitate this, Mr. Toda just enabled Google Plus for all Seniors, the Class of 2014.

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How can Google Plus Hangouts help you and your teachers (and your older students) connect and collaborate? There's nothing like jumping right in (ready or not) to find out.

Need to learn the ins and outs of Google Plus Hangouts before you introduce it to your teachers? I highly recommend Martin Shervington’s Ultimate Guide to Google Hangouts to get you started.

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P. S. Please let us know how you and your teachers are making Google Hangouts to achieve your goals!

Guest Blogger Info
Linda Lindsay is the librarian at Seabury Hall, a college-preparatory Gr.6-12 independent school, on the island of Maui, Hawaii. She has been the librarian there for 33 years. She is a Google Certified teacher. She is keenly interested in integration of technology in the classroom, social media best practices, digital literacy for students, and books and reading for everyone. She maintains two professional blogs: mauilibrarian2 in Olinda, and SEABURY READS.


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