Be prepared to dive into one of the most powerful and emerging social networks on the internet. Google+ is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of social media. As part of the Google suite of products, you will be able to seamlessly move your self into the world of Google+ and quickly be able to connect with others around the country and world. There are many tools available through Google+, but we will be focusing this challenge on the use of Google+ Circles, Google+ Communities, and Google Hangouts.
Google+ Circles is a new way to organize the people that you connect with on social media. Many social media platforms simply group all of the people you follow into one location. Google+ allows you to create multiple groups to place your friends, families, and coworkers into. You then have the ability to share with one or more groups at a time. It is an easy way to regulate the people you connect with based on the characteristics of that group. Another great feature about Google+ Circles is that you can add people to multiple circles.
Many of us have specific interests that we would like to know more about. I love Twitter, but sometimes it is difficult to find a group of people that share a common interest. Google+ Communities makes this so much easier. There are literally hundreds of Google+ Communities that consist of individual that are coming together for very specific reasons. For example, just recently I was having an issue with the Google Docs script called Doctopus. It was not working correctly for me. So, I went onto Google+ and posted a question in the Doctopus Community in Google+. Not only did I quickly get an answer, the person who answered my questions was the actual creator of the Doctopus Script. This is just not going to happen anywhere else. There are grade specific Google Communities as well as content or concept specific Communities. What are you interested in? There is a Community for that.
If you are familiar with FaceTime or Skype, you will love Google+ Hangouts. The basic features of of video conference are the same, but there are so many other awesome things. You can have up to ten members join a video conference at one time. Since it is web-based, you also have the ability air your conference online and share it live with the world through Hangouts-On-Air. This powerful tool is a great way to connect your classroom to other classes around the world and for you to connect with other professionals. We will unleash the power of Google Hangouts and open your eyes to a whole new world.
Challenge #3 - Google+
- Create your Google+ profile by following the instructions found here.
- Create at least 2 circles to put people into. For example I have a circle "Litch465" for employees of our school district and "PLN" for members of my Personal Learning Network that are outside of the district.
- Join at least 2 Google Communities. I recommend find one for your grade level or content area and then one more for an educational interest, such as iPads in the classroom or student blogging.
- Participate in a Google Hangout! This will be taken care of during one of our Connected Educator meetings. Instead of meeting face-to-face, we will meet via Google Hangout. More info on this later.
- HOMEWORK: Now that you all have professional blogs, your homework will be to blog about your early experience and expectations of Google+ and the tools it provides. Be sure to share your blog post on Twitter and include an education hashtag such as #edtech. Good luck!