Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Google Hangouts for PD

If you've never used Google Hangouts, you are definitely missing out!  It has probably been one of my favorite and most used technology tools for staying connected with friends and colleagues near and far.  Before Hangouts, I often used Skype for video chatting with friends and family.  I still use Skype once in a while but Google Hangout is definitely my go to video conferencing tool.  The best part of a Google Hangout is the ability to video chat with up to 10 people at one time (15 if you use your Google Apps for schools account).  There is also the ability to hangout from the Google Plus app available for iPhone and android users.  Learning can literally be anytime and anywhere.  Plus, you can easily share your screen and collaborate on a doc.  This makes it perfect for professional development and for meetings that can't be done in person.  Not to mention, silly hats are always a way to make any meeting more fun.

To get started, you need a Google+ account.  You can visit this link to get to easily get to a hangout or click on More and select Hangouts from any page in Google+.
Once you are there, you will select to start an hangout and Google+ will let you know who in your circles are online.  You can invite anyone to the hangout and it they will be notified on their Google+ page.

Another very useful and cool feature is the ability to do a Hangout On Air.  This will allow your hangout to be broadcast on your Google+ stream and on your YouTube channel.  This is great for sharing with a large audience.  It will also allow you to save the hangout to your YouTube channel where you can share the link or make it available for others to see in case they missed it.  Hangouts On Air are great ways to host webinars and share PD or host study sessions for students.  If you do use Google+ with students, please be aware that there is a strict over 13 policy in place.  Students under 13 should not use Google+.

At the very minimum, you should definitely check out the hangouts that are happening live on Google Education On Air.  Learn from educators across the globe for free.  In case you missed it, you can always watch the recorded shows.  

Hopefully I'll be "Hanging" out with you very soon!

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