Today there is a buzz in the air with education and social media. I don’t blame educational systems for looking into the fastest growing ways that people are connecting and consuming data. However, with the social aspect there are more factors at play such as a lifespan (how big can it get without being too big), users interest, and the intrinsic “cool” factor. After all it would just be media with out the social aspect. If you are like me, you are wondering how can we predict how people will move, and honestly we really can’t 100% predict that movement, but we can be prepared.
One of the options now is Google+. I played around and found I can consume, produce, and publish information all from one place. This may sound familiar with Facebook, but I don’t have to sort through near as much useless information in the process. I can messaging, hanging out, and still being up-to-date on current news in all from the same place, and I am learning from all of the information. Yesterday I was able to connect with people, see their face, share screens and learn from them as much as we were able to, and had an incredibly easy time doing all of the above. It all hit me…Why aren’ we using this to teach students in the classroom? Well start on February 22, you and your students, friends, kids, whoever can actually see a live feed from space from NASA and 10 people will be able to interact with astronauts. AWESOME! I just became a kid again and I can see into space!
All of this sounds great, but what about social media, and it impacting education. Well, as an educator, it seems like Google+ has so many ways for you to connect with other classrooms, other cultures, astronauts, and anyone else who has signed up. It seems to replace Skype for video conferencing, for classroom to classroom connections, and classroom to guest speakers. Imagine have 9 classes interact with a speaker all at once for free!
Here are 10 ways to leverage Google+ in EDU:
1. Communities, can be classes and you can have a live discussion over topics and ideas
2. You can create a small virtual classroom for free, record the lecture and play it back later from YouTube
3. Video conference with people all over the world (mystery hangout, share google documents live, document a project as a class)
4. Have your students teach other students. Divide a class in 1/2 and have 10 students teach part of your lesson. Record, publish repeat. You will have students teaching student before next year!
5. Record a play on a hangout if you are not all in the same physical location
6. Use it for teacher to teacher professional development. Hold 10 meeting throughout the year and have an ongoing discussion or 10 topics to talk about.
7. Hold mini demos/conferences of new ideas for a board of directors and record it for others to use.
8. Create your own Khan academy to fit your classes needs.
9. Use it for cultural, geographical, trending topics, or share your classroom with another class anywhere in the world!
10. Have students learn more than what your schedule might allow asynchronously, and create an individualized learning experience.
Share information! Educate our youth, and don’t look back. They are our future!