Playing in a Google Hangout

Several weekends ago, I was privileged to play with google hangouts, under the direction of Jo Hart, who is a master at online learning. The invitation was put out through the Australia Series facebook group. Jo, Penny Bentley, Tatyana Chernaya (from Russia) and Heather Peterson were part of this group.

A great way to learn is to have an informal hangout with others and test the options with each other, share experiences and discoveries and take the learning from there. It is great to learn with a small group, especially when they are willing to explore all the elements, push all the buttons and share what was discovered. There is mentoring, teaching, learning, group networking etc.

When at home, I am on limited bandwidth and have often found that using the video, pulls me out, so I have not tried to attend too many. However, during this session, Jo taught me how to pull back the linkup speed. See screenshot below

Here is what we did:-

  1. Jo demonstrated screen sharing
  2. Worked out how to add and share files
  3. Add dressups
  4. Use the video camera for a virtual tour
  5. Toggle on and off the microphone, video cam option etc
  6. Used the chat and associated elements

How to create a hangout: 

  1. Login into google+
  2. Search for hangouts, create hangouts, share link provided with people you wish to be part of the hangout. (Can have up to 10 video participants)

Jo demonstrates screen share

The pluses:-

  • free for those wih google mail registration
  • Allows file sharing including text documents, ppt presentations, images
  • Allows ‘dress ups’ for a bit of fun or role playing
  • Can be recorded through airpla and saved on youtube (Can you privatize the resultant viedeo)
  • Could be useful for videoconferencing and video chats in classrooms, but care would need to be taken with recording of session that appropriate permissions are there.
  • Potential for ‘remote’ classes or teachers
  • Invitations can be quickly generated through google circles
  • Can pull back to a slower bandwidth setting

Learning about Russian mushrooms

The Challenges

  • easier if all participants have their own gmail account and are part of your google+circles
  • heavy on bandwidth
  • potential privacy and security issues

Virtual tour of Jo’s backyard

In class, we have played with the google hangout, but it was close to bell time, our bandwidth was not strong that day but it did work sufficiently but time for full exploration was against us.

Potential for the classroom

  • use as a screencasting tool – do not invite anyone to the hangout, simply record the lesson using airplay and add to youtube
  • record classes for students who are absent
  • invite in other remote classes
  • use for videoconferencing
  • Professional Development potential for small groups

Thanks Jo for making the time available to share your knowledge and expertise and letting us play to learn. Have you used google hangout? If so, how? What could you share with us? Please add your comment below this post.

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