Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Google + Community Potential

Yesterday, Google + Communities in GAFE domains gained additional possibilities - they can now be set to only domain-level viewers. Though we could have opened up Google + to our high school students, this functionality (or lack of) stopped our admin from making that decision. However, there is still the issue of students being able to see communities outside of the domain and join those communities.

On one hand, being able to connect at a students' choosing is a great freedom and learning tool. On the other hand, though, schools could be liable for any communities students choose to join that are not school-appropriate. How do you decide what community is school-appropriate and what community is not?

I am anxious for more of our teachers to join into Google + and for our students to be able to use its features. However, when we polled users after our Google Ninja Conference on Saturday, only about half said they would continue to use Google + beyond the conference. And, I think that number is higher than the true number. Why do teachers not deem this a valuable tool? Do they see it as risky or do they classify it into the same category as Facebook?

Recently, I have read some innovative examples of teachers using Google + in the classroom. For instance, one educator had students create Google + pages for literary characters. It was a place to gather information about the character as well as get into the mindset of the character. Another teacher used Google + Communities to create a virtual art gallery for his students and other classrooms around the world. What a great, authentic experience to have art galleries that students can display for the world to join, comment on, and enjoy?

If you are on the line about Google +, I recommend joining the Google world. And, you can start with the Connected Classrooms Workshop. It, too, was released yesterday. You just need to request to join (you will get an invite to the Google + community afterward). It connects classrooms around the globe and provides virtual field trips to and from the likes of solar planes and more. You can also meet a variety of educators with the same purpose and goals. I recommend taking the plunge!

No comments:

Post a Comment