Taking a look at a brand new social media tool is a bit like test-driving a car. You know, you check out all the features, look around, speed a bit, see how it turns. This week, I’ve been checking out Google+ and constantly asking myself this question: “What does this mean for education?”
I love Google+ for its ability to easily create “Circles.” You can easily drag and drop your contacts into groups. Imagine having your Aunt Betty in a family group while your colleague Susy is in a “Math Teachers” group. Does Aunt Betty need to read the latest research on Math? Probably not. Is your colleague Susy interested in what you’re bringing to the upcoming family reunion? Doubtful. Circles allow you to share with who you want to share with.
What does that mean for education?
- Networking with colleagues is even easier and allows you to get specific. Make a circle for your school, your graduate class, or those you’ve networked with online and share interests with.
- A valuable tool for keeping classroom parents informed without giving access to all of your personal information. I realize Facebook allows some of these features, but Google+ seems a bit more intuitive for this purpose.
- Possibilities for students to share links and build a classroom community. Teachers could post homework information, project links, and hold class discussions, all while keeping the circle strictly education related.
- Buzz is integrated, so if you’ve been building a PLN on Twitter, it becomes integrated with the new Google+ In Buzz, you can comment and “Like” Tweets. This expands the conversation from Twitter even further.
- Hangouts can be created and allow instant videoconferencing with your “Circles.” Imagine reading a blog post on gifted education, then starting a “Hangout” and having a real, live video discussion.
- The +1 reminds me quite a bit of Facebook’s “Like.” But, this feature might allow you to easily build a collection of articles and blogs you like and make it easy to collaborate with sites others +1
I’m still enjoying the test-drive. So far, it’s reminded me quite a bit of Facebook without all of the farming, mafia, and frontiers. I look forward to trying it out in the classroom this fall. Parts of it are very familiar, but just when I get comfortable I realize there is a feature I like even more.
By: Krissy Venosdale (@KTVee)