Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hanging out with Google+: "Tech in the Classroom"

Photo Credit: Liz Meyer
     Last night I had the pleasure of taking part in a Google+ Hangout on "Technology in the Classroom" hosted by Great Heights Communication & Ohio eTech.  Roger Minier, of Northwest Ohio Educational Technology, John Case, the Tech Coordinator for Hi-Point Career Center, & I took a look at Technology in the Classroom.  Along with the discussion there was also some Q&A from twitter @ #OETC13 afterward.  If you want to watch the discussion you can take a look at the video down below.  

     The Google+ Hangout itself was a great experience & I look forward to more opportunities to "Hang Out". Charlie Joslin was our moderator & did a great job asking the questions. The flow was very smooth for four guys in four different locations across the state. What was cool was that during the broadcast Ohio eTech ran a simulcast where viewers watched live & then immediately after, the video was available on YouTube.

     If you havn't given Google+ Hangouts a try you should. There are many different ways to use it including watching/discussing YouTube videos, Sharing your screen for presentation or tech help purposes, collaboration on a Google Doc (you can even edit it together in the hangout), or even playing a game of virtual ping pong (yeah pretty cool, you'll have to try for yourself). All of this while having 2-10 or so people with audio & video feed that automatically adjusts to focus on whomever is currently speaking.
     The ways to use this in the classroom are numerous. Since last night my mind has been spinning with ideas, to the point I wish I could switch one of my eTech sessions to "Hanging out at School: Why it's taking on a whole new meaning". Perhaps that can be my next blog post...(that folks is a tease), I know you can't wait. For now I'll throw out a few...
  • Collaboration with experts in the field 
  • Editing & Collaboration "buddies" at sister schools. 
  • Afterschool (in the evening) book clubs or YouTube clubs. 
  • Google+ Hangout for Community Tech Help (everybody needs good PR right) 
  • many more
     Of course there are also many ways to use this for professional development & collaboration between teachers.  The teacher lounge is going virtual which means I can discuss with the teacher across the hall, across the country, across the world & for Higher Ed online courses this is a game changer as well.  By adding hangouts to your online course you can make those connections with students which can make a course more meaningful.

     Bottom line, give it a try.  If you want, tweet me & I'll try to hangout with you if I'm available so you can give it a try.  Maybe we can play some Ping Pong together.  For now check out the video of our hangout & start brainstorming some ideas.