Thursday, June 6, 2013

5 ideas for using Google Hangouts On Air

If you're an innovative educator, by now, you have probably tried Google Hangouts which let you conduct a video conference with up to ten people / locations FOR FREE! This by itself has terrific potential for teaching and learning tool. 

I explained here ways the following ideas could be put to use in the classroom:
1)  Take a class without having to be in the same place.
2)  Invite an audience to a performance.
3)  Invite others to perform/discuss with you.
What you may yet to have tried is livestreaming your Hangout and capturing it via YouTube. This is known as Google Hangouts On Air which takes something that was already awesome, and makes it even better. 

You can see what it is here:

You can find out how to set it up here.  

You can discover five great ways to use it for education below.

1) Online classes / webinars
Forget that expensive software. Google Hangouts are now the perfect tool for online professional development and webinars. Now you can livestream that online class and have up to ten participants total. So you can have several expert guests joining the class and still have several spaces for participants to jump in for questions, feedback, etc. Since only ten participants can chat at a time in a Hangout, for a large class use a back channel chat like Twitter with selected hashtag, Today’s Meet, or Chatzy.  Remember to assign a backchannel monitor that among other things can invite interested participants who have something to contribute to join the Hangout live.

2)    Professional development
The first thing that comes to my mind is that professional development can be livestreamed so for instance even if educators can’t be at a professional development in person, they can watch it from their homes and up to ten can even participate.  These sessions are then recorded and available on YouTube for viewing anytime / anywhere.  What’s also great is that YouTube now has simple editing tools, so you can quickly and easily add captions, headlines, cut video etc.

3)    The home – school connection
In the 21st century where many students come from either single-parent working families or those where both parents must work, coming to school is difficult.  Livestreaming lets school come to the parent either live or later via recording. Schools can share morning announcements, assemblies, celebrations and more.  Teachers can student presentations and invite parents to actually join the hangout at the time their child will be presenting. It is there later for parents to share with friends and families to brag far and wide.  Views and comments can also be exciting and motivating for students. The account holder has comment moderation privileges, if there are worries about possible inappropriate comments.

4) Meetings
Sometimes not all participants can physically attend a meeting, but with livestreaming they can watch from where they are live, or view later.

5) Poetry Slam
It is not unusual for schools to collaborate with other schools for poetry slams. In the past this was often done via something like Skype.  With Google Hangouts On Air, you can have multiple classes collaborating and on the day of the actual slam, the event can be livestreamed and the school community invited to watch. For those who can’t watch live, they can watch the recording.

So, what do you think? Do any of these ideas excite you? Do you have another idea? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments.
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