Introducing Google Plus to Educators

Introducing Google Plus to Educators

Since Google+ was unveiled, I’ve been excited by its potential for learning. However, I have to admit that I’ve struggled a bit to explain it enough so that we can get into the classroom possibilities.

Because of the various tentacles associated with it, I decided to try explaining it in a low-tech way.

Discovering Google+

The Low-Tech Google+ Understanding

In order to understand Circles, Communities, and Sharing, it was important to grasp how each worked and then discuss what is best for the learning environment.


  1. Each teacher received the following: markers, tape, yarn, and two package of photos of their peers
  2. On the think tank wall, each teacher was provided with the following drawings: three circles, share options, and a house community.


  1. Teachers started by categorizing the photos and labeling the circles with each category
  2. Teachers placed the photos into the proper labeled circle
  3. Anticipated Question: Can I place the same person in multiple circles?
  4. Teachers label their house community with an interest: CrossFit, Bulldogs, Blackhawks, etc.
  5. Each teacher takes his or her picture and does a gallery walk of the community houses. Once a community of interest is found, each teacher places his or her photo into the house community.
  6. The creator of the house community returns and determines whether to “accept” those people into the house
  7. With circles and a community created, teachers are ready to share ideas. They choose one of the options, draw/write/place links on the wall, and decide whether they are sharing to a circle, house community, public, or more.
  8. Using yarn, they connect their idea to whomever they are sharing to see visually how ideas spread

Building Out Google+

Learning Discussion

After getting through the basics of what it is, setting up classroom communities and getting into discussing/exploring the possibilities was much easier:

  • what does it enhance?
  • what problem does it solve?
  • what opportunities does it create?
  • how could students use it?
  • how could teachers use it?
  • why use communities vs circles

This conversation about learning ideas is now ready to go and we can springboard into that rich discourse. Not only did the teachers get this, our student leadership team did, too. This will offer another layer of insight and support.

Keep Thinking for Next Time 

  • Explore mobile features such as messenger
  • Share possible ideas to our pilot community
  • Hack Hangouts for Face to Face Use




  1. Wow! This is such an amazing idea! And beautifully conveyed! A fantastic amount of thinking and work, done with such care. And that, for me, is where the plaudits must end. For you, nothing but admiration; for Google Plus… well, honestly, if it really is this complicated to convey the concept to people, then I think there is something seriously flawed with it. I’ve tried and tried to like it, to understand how to use it – I love most Google stuff! – but, I failed miserably and then I stopped blaming myself and that’s where I am now. So! A really brilliant creation on your part and might I suggest filming it and tipping Google off, I think they’d love it..? But, as I say, I think Google Plus doesn’t work. For me! 🙂

  2. I saw a link to this post on G+, but comments there were disabled.

    I’m an educator and I love google+ and can see many ways of using it in my classroom, but I was under the impression that kids under 18 were not allowed to have google+ accounts. Am I wrong?

  3. This is a great idea and amazingly planned out lesson. Thank you for sharing this!
    I am strongly considering doing this with the teachers are my school as we are in the early stage of introducing Google+ as an teaching and learning tool.
    Thanks again for sharing this great lesson!

  4. Really like this idea for explaining it to folks, especially those who have not been involved in any kind of online learning network.

    I’m curious as to whether your district has had any concerns about enabling Google Plus for staff and kids. Unfortunately, my district will not (at least not yet) due to archive concerns (staff communication) and also some concerns about the video portion of Google Hangouts. Would love to hear your district’s official “thoughts” on that to help with discussions in my district.



  1. Mr G's Idle Musings » Blog Archive » My Diigo 03/03/2013 - [...] Introducing Google Plus to Educators [...]
  2. Update: Diigo in Education group (weekly) | ChalkTech - [...] Introducing Google Plus to Educators [...]

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