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.
The Low-Tech Google+ Understanding
- Each teacher received the following: markers, tape, yarn, and two package of photos of their peers
- On the think tank wall, each teacher was provided with the following drawings: three circles, share options, and a house community.
- Teachers started by categorizing the photos and labeling the circles with each category
- Teachers placed the photos into the proper labeled circle
- Anticipated Question: Can I place the same person in multiple circles?
- Teachers label their house community with an interest: CrossFit, Bulldogs, Blackhawks, etc.
- 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.
- The creator of the house community returns and determines whether to “accept” those people into the house
- 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.
- Using yarn, they connect their idea to whomever they are sharing to see visually how ideas spread
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