This is part six of a six part series on ways to use Google+ in the classroom after getting through the logistics of using it.
Our discussions surrounding the use of Google+ in the classroom have centered on the following six possibilities within a Private, “request an Invite” Community.
- Connecting to Ideas and Information
- Writing to Learn Strategies
- Creating and Sharing
- Discussion Strategies
- Efficiency Strategies
- Connecting to People
In looking at each of these, we continue to frame our discussions around key questions:
- Does it make things easier or more efficient?
- Does it alter/enhance something previously done?
- Does it allow for something new?
- Does it solve a problem?
- Does it foster creating and making?
Connecting to People
One of the tenants of Connected Learning is the idea of networks. Google+ serve as strong platforms for networking locally and globally. This allows for learners to be exposed to diverse perspectives and audiences in a way that pushes their ideas.
As Stephen Johnson argues, “Chance favors the connected mind”. When we place an emphasis not only on connecting students to ideas but also to people, we are fostering that connected mind.
Google+ provides a number of ways to foster this level of connection:
Sample Connecting to People with Google+
Google Hangouts are probably one of the most obvious ways to leverage Google+ to Connect to People. This has been well-documented by a variety of thoughtful people such as Andrew Marcinek‘s Google Hangouts Connecting, Sharing, and Learning or Best Practices for Google Hangouts.
One of the ways I’d love to see Google+ Hangouts used is by leveraging it for professional reviews of student work. Because Hangouts allow you to view YouTube videos and Google Drive docs with others, this provides a tremendous opportunity for students to garner feedback on their work from anyone in the world.
- Students design a prototype solution to a problem
- Their design is documented as a video, slide show, or document
- Students must find and connect with an expert in the area they are exploring
- Students setup a Feedback Hangout with this “expert” and share their work in the Hangout.
- This Feedback Hangout is recorded and shared in the Community.
- Students adjust their work based upon the feedback and either a) pitch again (perhaps with a new person) or b) submit their work.
I used to have Writing Partners setup this way for my students. Each student was connected with a college student and this exchange occurred asynchronously via email. While valuable, I would love to do this today via Hangouts with a Google Doc opened.
What an entirely different experience!?