I’ve written before about Google+ and its new communities feature, which I think is a great way for teachers to build online academic spaces with their students.
The past few weeks, I’ve been sharing with my colleagues my enthusiasm for Google+. In addition, I’ve signed up to a few Google+ communities and done some light posting. I’ve been very impressed with the level of conversation in many of these communities, and I’ve appreciated receiving feedback from other Google+ members about my thoughts.
For example, I wrote this quick post in the Google Apps for Education community. Within a day, the post received 19 helpful comments to push my thinking.
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What Makes Google+ Perfect for High School Teachers
I’m using G+ with my students in our English classes. So far, it’s working great. I’ve set up a community, and students are feeling comfortable asking questions, adding to discussions, and sharing their thoughts.
But here is what I’m finding makes G+ perfect:
1. If students are already on Apps, they’re already on Google. They don’t need to register somewhere else or learn another system.
2. Hangouts are great. They’re simple and they work.
3. But my favorite feature is the ability to take photos and video and upload them instantly and automatically to G+. At the end of each day, I go to Instant Upload, click on the day’s media, and share everything to the class community. This means any (or all) of the following: my mini-lessons, student presentations, photos of student work, pictures of students working together, photos of handouts, photos of the whiteboard, videos to introduce the homework or to offer tips to study — you name it.
Most impressive is that even a fairly large video is able to be uploaded and doesn’t take up any space on Google Drive (unless I’m missing something). Today, for example, I took a 10-minute video (1280 x 720) that had no trouble uploading on its own. (I’ve heard various accounts that the limit is either 15 minutes or 1 GB, though I haven’t been able to confirm.)
Anyway, I just wanted to share my enthusiasm for G+ in Google Apps, and I’m wondering how other teachers are using it, plus I’m surprised that many high schools using Apps haven’t yet switched it on. Is it because it’s new, or is there fear that it’s a social network and would lead to bad things?
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I know that Google+ is new, and it might not be as trendy (yet) as Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or the other social networks. But if you’re a teacher and you work at a school with Google Apps, it’s a perfect tool. Let me know what you think — and if you have questions.