If you’re an educator and you haven’t yet started experimenting with how Google+ might be the next best most amazing and awesome collaboration tool to help your classes do good work, then you’re missing out. There are some great ways to think about this to get you started. Plus, the tool is open to anyone with a gmail account and is free. So, dive in.
Make a Class Circle
After you’ve set up your account and published your profile, go to your Circles page and start adding people in your class to the circle. When you have it all populated, share it with the people in that circle, so they can all add each other to the same circle. Do this by clicking “share this circle” in the upper right hand side of your screen. (If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and we’ll sort you out.)
Share Lesson Plans
You can post your lesson plans to your circle without sharing them to the outside world. Simply click the X on other circles and sharing options like “public” and “extended circles” until your special class circle is all that’s remaining, and you have your privacy. Now, post lesson plans, share YouTube videos, photos, and more via links. You can even do location-related homework by having people post location check-ins to the circle as a response to your plans.
Seek and Respond To Comments
Comments are gold. If you want discussions, make sure to answer questions and comment back and forth with people based on the information you’ve shared. This is the best way to take advantage of this platform, as keeping a running thread of conversations about your topics allows everyone to see the evolution of your efforts, as well.
Start a Hangout
Want to see everyone’s shining face or share a document or draw together on a collaborative whiteboard? Hangouts (with extras) allows for all of this. There are a limited number of people who can be live in a hangout at any time, but you can accomplish the same efforts by scheduling more than one hangout, if your class is too big.
Invite special guests! It gets even more fun. There are lots of really interesting people already on Google+, and most of them would probably be willing to drop into a hangout, if you give them advanced warning.
And That’s Just the Beginning
You can experiment and see pretty quickly just how great this platform can be for educators. Heck, maybe you have. Have you done some cool things? Share your thoughts in the comments section. (If you share a link, give me some time to approve it.)
What do you think?