Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Addicted to Google Hangouts

I joined Google Plus right away when I first got an invitation. I played around a bit but never got to involved with it. Then at NCTE, Bill Bass told me I needed to do more with Google Plus. When I pushed for what it had to offer that I didn't already have access to in my other social networks, he said, "Google Hangouts".  I went home and didn't think much about it until it was time to write our NCTE 2013 Convention proposal.  Bill organized a Google Hangout for the three of us writing the proposal (Ann Marie Corgill, Bill, me).  Since that first Google hangout, we've met about our proposal, I had other meetings for projects scheduled and in our classroom, we had a visit from Ruth Ayres via Google Hangout. In January, I have participated in several Google Hangouts and I am hooked!

If you don't know anything about Google Hangouts, they are similar to Skype--real time live chat to whoever you want to talk to in the world.  But Google Hangouts provide for lots more than just a live chat.  First of all, you can chat with a group of people. From what I understand, one Google Hangout can accommodate 7-8 people.  At first I thought this was overwhelming but the talk that you can have with a group from all over the world is definitely a plus. I have had many conference calls in my life but to sit and see people and talk as if you are all sitting in the same room makes a difference in the thoughtfulness of the work.

There are also ways to work on a Google Doc together in a Google Hangout. So, if you are creating a proposal or a piece of writing or a presentation, the Google Doc can be shared in the hangout and participants can work on it live in the Hangout. It is easy to share Google Docs and other things from your screen directly to the Google Hangout.

I see huge potential for Google Hangouts with classrooms. Connecting a few classrooms for an event or conversation could be really powerful in helping kids see the connectedness and globalness of our work.

And then there are the "toys". The sound effects and props that are just plain fun.  Katie DiCesare was at my house working on something a few weeks ago and so we visited a bit with Ann Marie via Google Hangout. Since it was new to us all, we played around with the props. For a very long time.  The playing part was very fun and we realized Google Hangouts are not only great for professional work but great to just visit with friends who live far away.

Ann Marie, Katie and I playing around with the props in a Google Hangout!

I am a phone girl. I like to talk while I am doing 10,000 other things walking around the house. But Google Hangouts has helped me realize the power of live chatting--how much better the conversation is (whether I am working on a project or just visiting with friends) when we are kind of sitting in the same room.  If you haven't had time to try out Google Hangouts, I would definitely give it a try.


  1. I love this. I have just done one google hangout, but I was amazed. I just offered it up as a way for my library Board to have small meetings and they looked at me like I had 2 heads, but I hope I can make it easy for them to love it too. Thanks for sharing.

    First in Maine

  2. Cathy Mere and I just used it last night to work on Dublin Lit. So fun to see friends and work at the same time.

  3. We had a group of six working on our NCTE proposal and we used Hangout. I would agree about its power. And one of the members knew how to screenshare so that all of us had eyes on the document we were working on. Another powerful thing. But having to be "present" in a live conversation is the thing I enjoy the most.
    Love your masks and props!

  4. I just used Google Hangout this past weekend in a class I'm taking with Troy Hicks and the Columbus Area Writing Project. We saw so many possibilities! I'm looking forward to trying it out again!

  5. Thanks for writing about Google Hangout. I never heard of it before. It sounds like an amazing way to connect with multiple parties.

  6. Ditto Julie ... and a "you are what you teach" (you know, 12-year-olds) moment for me, the first thing I played around with on there was the props option. I look much better with scuba gear covering my face.

    I need to spend more time navigating Google Plus/Google Plus Communities.

  7. Yikes! I have never even heard of this. It looks like fun!

  8. I didn't even know that was possible! Wow! SO much technology, so little time!

  9. Very cool...I know what I will be doing this weekend! And thanks for sharing the link to your Google hangout visit with Ruth.

  10. That's so cool! I could run through with a friend how to start up on Wordpress using that. Thanks!


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