Purpose of Google+ and Hangouts

I will be honest, I am relatively new to Google+. My district has just recently decided to open it up for staff. I felt the need to create resources to help them through the transition. This week I created a Google+ Overview Cheat Sheet, Starting a Google Hangout Cheat Sheet, and Participating in a Google Hangout Video Chat Cheat Sheet.

have gotten a lot of great feedback from those cheat sheets. I love creating resources that others find useful...after all why would you create something that people won't use. 

Now that the basics have been created I feel like I need to address the purpose of using Google+ and Hangouts. 

First off, it is a great tool to use professionally. We teach in a time where teachers should no longer have their "door" closed. I mean that metaphorically, of course. If we expect to make a great impact in education, then we need to come together and collaborate worldwide.  

Google+ opens the door for educators to come together to build a Professional Learning Network (PLN). Here are just a couple ways to build your Google+ PLN:

  1. Find educators you trust and admire and add them to your circles. 
  2. Join a community that specializes in  your interests and/or subject(s) you teach.
  3. Ask questions, request help and find resources through your circles and communities.
  4. Share your resources and ideas.
  5. Lead/Attend a professional development via a Google Hangout Video Chat

I know Google+ is not the only way to build a PLN. I am also active on Twitter and love my Twitter PLN, but why limit myself to only one source. 

Secondly, Google+ is a great tool to use with students. I am going to be working on a resource in the near future that will highlight various ways, but until then let me highlight just a few: 

  1. Participate in a Mystery Hangout - this will introduce students to other students around the world, as well as help them develop their questioning skills. 
  2. Bring experts into the classroom via Hangouts - invite authors, engineers, community members, etc. into the classroom via a Hangout
  3. Have students create study groups
  4. Host tutorials via Google Hangouts Live on Air - have students use the chat feature to post their questions/needs
Here is a link to a blog that was written on Google Hangouts. They shared several ideas, as well as featured one of the resources I created. 

If you are on Google+ please add me and become part of my PLN. 

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