To Do: Start a Google Hangout

If you’ve attended one of PowerUp WHAT WORKS’ Connected Educator Month webinars—or one of the other 500+ CEM events going on in the month of October—then you’ve already been introduced to Google Hangouts as a viewer. If you didn’t get a chance to attend out webinar, visit our Google Plus page to view the archived content. Many of the events for CEM utilized Hangouts as a presenter tool. At its most basic level, Google Hangouts provides a free and easy-to-use videochat or webinar presentation platform. Taken a step further, Hangouts has proven to be a powerful tool for educator and student support, providing opportunities ranging from ad hoc discussion of instructional topics and student assignments, to planned events, demonstrations, and meetings.

Check out this short video for an example of how to set up a class using Google Hangouts:

You can set up a Google Hangout in just minutes and start building the foundation for connected education today! Here’s how:

  1. Set up your account for Google Hangouts – If you already have a gmail account, you can just sign in with that account and create your Google Plus account (Google’s version of Facebook) which will be associated with your Hangout profile. Once you’ve signed in, download the “plug-in” for your browser in order to access Hangout tools (this is totally seamless and will not clutter your browser or take up any significant space on your computer).
  2. In order to “hangout” with other people, they must also set up Google Hangouts. Once you add them to your “circles” (e.g. groupings of classes, co-workers, friends, etc.) you can ask them to join your hangout by group or individually. NOTE: If your students are older than 13, they can create their own Hangout account to participate; otherwise, you can use your own account and display it via the projector screen for in-class hangouts with all of your students and another third-party. 

What makes Google Hangouts uniquely well-suited to professional development, collaboration, and teaching is both its ease of use and the framework around it—Google Plus. Google Plus is set up to make clearer distinctions between your work and private life via the Circles feature, which efficiently organizes your contacts. Additionally, your Google Plus account is already linked with any other Google tools you now use in your classroom and at school. Once you’ve established your account, you will have access to the Hangouts community, which provides a network of other professionals in your field, as well as those from many others. You can participate in discussions, view broadcasted Hangouts (i.e. webinars) and start your own public or private Hangouts.

Within the Hangout, you can share whatever content you have open on your computer as you’re speaking, as well as use the webcam to present visually. The Hangout can be used to connect classrooms during lessons, to connect students with you or with other students after school, and to facilitate ongoing professional development as outlined in PowerUp’s Technology Implementation Practice Guide and PD Facilitator Guide. Along with the tools that PowerUp WHAT WORKS provides for using technology to meet the CCSS, you will be able to flexibly implement and harness the energy to PowerUp your school!

If you’ve used Google Hangouts already, please comment below to let us know about your experience and/or to ask any questions you might have, or visit our Google Plus page and let us know there!

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Michael McGarrah for helping to compile this post. 

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