Sunday, July 10, 2011

What Does Google+ Mean for Education

I became a Google+ user this week and I like it.  From what I can tell it lets you do pretty much everything Facebook lets you do with some bonuses including being able to edit your status updates and comments and that you can select who the feed goes to via the circle(s) in which you share your updates.  The circles I'm using are colleagues, co-workers, GTA, friends, family, volleyball.  The status updates still don't have a feature which I really want:  nesting of comments.  Is that really so hard???  It does let you tag people in your status which I find useful.

Another cool feature is hanging out.  This lets you connect with up to ten people via audio, video, and chat and from my experience it works rather seamlessly.  It also has a YouTube video share which I think will be powerful as a teaching and learning tool.  While as an educator, my initial thought was only ten people?  My next thought was, the reality is that it is difficult to have meaningful discussions with more than ten people.  The rule of ten might in fact result in much more interesting and effective learning.  For instance:

  • What if students were empowered to lead hang out discussions and if necessary the teacher could move from discussion to discussion.  
  • What if the teacher set discussions with groups of students as it made sense.
  • This could be great for meetings of educators who are not from the same school.  Think librarian hangouts, science teacher hangouts, etc.
  • This is a nice tool that could be more efficient for staff who are located in different districts.  Rather than spend time commuting, just set up a hang out.

Here is what I like, love, a great tip, and what surprised me about Google+

Top 3 things I like.
1-You can edit your posts
2-You can hit return without the comment posting itself
3-You can still tag people

Top 3 things I love
1-You can select who sees your message. I REALLY like this as I know my friends are annoyed by my work chatter.
2-Hangouts are really cool. They're so easy. I didn't need to install or do anything, though I believe this is because I use the Google Suite. If you don't, you may need to install some plug ins.
3-Creating circles. I don't know why but this seems so much better than creating groups in Facebook.

Great tip
Shorten your Google+ page url at
This allows you to change the url for your Google+ page
to be something like this:
instead of this:

One thing I wasn't looking forward to is re-establishing my personal learning network on Google+. I was surprised that this wasn't a problem. Within a few days it seems I already have all my Facebook work friends in Google+.  Rebuilding those I connect with was very easy and the circles are so nice because as people are added I quickly and easily dropped them in the right circle. Facebook let you just accept friendship without grouping people so there was no good way to connect with certain groups because I hardly grouped anyone.  The instant circles feature has allowed me to instantly group all and those I spoke with most on Facebook and Twitter are right there with me and in the right group :-)

That's as far as I've gotten so far with Google+, but if you want to learn more here are some suggestions :-)

1) Check out the Google+ Guide that is being created by hundreds of Google users, using Google docs.  How Google Coolgle is that??? Imagine what kids could do if we allowed them to use social networks to connect with others and make guides about things they cared about???

2) Eric Curts, who I was fortunate enough to have join my first hang out, shared with me a whole blog post he wrote about his ideas for Google+ for schools which you can read here.  If you're a Google Apps school, you'll love his App User Group which connects and assists schools in the use of Google Apps for education.  His post was also mentioned on the Read Write Web blog in their article, "Is This the Social Tool Schools Have Been Waiting For? by @audreywatters . Check it out.

3) Click this link for information about why it's great for folks who create graphic novels / comics.

4) Visit Larry Ferlazzo's round up of Google+ resources here.

5) Check out this Google collaborative doc that shares Ways to Use Google+ in Education.  Consider adding your own ideas too!

6) View "What G+ is really about (pst!!! it's not social") -- +Vincent Wong Believe it? Go here and see his G+ photo album that argues the case. (Just click the first photo then use the arrows to see the rest.)

7) Google+ Shortcut Cheat Sheet

8) The GPlus Info: How GPlus Can Become The Social Network For Education by Rich Kiker

Unlike Google Wave which I waved goodbye to well before it disappeared and Google Buzz which I felt wasn't worth the buzz, I think Google+ has a place in social media arena.  Facebook, watch out. There's a new kid in town and I think he might become more popular than you.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lisa. It has definitely peeked my interest.

  2. I've BEEN interested for some time now. But when oh when oh when do we normal folk get to be part of the party? For one thing, as a teacher, it would be very useful to be able to check this out while it's still summer...

  3. How do you get an invite to the Google+program? I can see this being very useful.

  4. Lisa you get an A for Awesome from me because I really think you hit on all the things I want to know about Google+, and pulled together some links. I feel more empowered to keeping playing now. I also disliked Wave, tried it for about 45 seconds (okay longer) and with Buzz I just kept hiding it after awhile.

  5. Thanks all. If you want an invite you can:
    1) Leave your email here and I'll invite you.
    2) Leave your email for me on Facebook and I'll invite you.
    3) Email me directly and I'll invite you.

    The invite feature jumps on and off which they say they are doing so it doesn't get overloaded. Right now I seem to have the super Google invite powers :-)

  6. I need an invite! Thanks so much!

  7. invitde me lisa

  8. Me! Me! (Thanks!) (I sent you an old-fashioned email also)

  9. I'd love an invite and thanks for the great post!

  10. Good morning, invite me please

  11. Everyone has been invited. Look forward to connecting with you there.

  12. Thank you for this excellent blog. Your comments are always meaningful and relevant. I know it probably takes you a great deal of time ,but your work is much appreciated.
    I'd love to try Google+

  13. Nice and easy to follow summary. Thanks.

  14. please invite me.

  15. An interesting read as I have an invite waiting for me in my email inbox and have been deliberating on whether I can be bothered with Google+.

    It still seems to me that it is far too similar to Facebook to make it worthwhile. Some of the features you mention as new ARE available in Facebook - tagging people in your posts is entirely possible, although not obvious unless you know how. Also, this idea of selecting who sees your status updates by using Circles - how is this different to using lists when you post a status update on Facebook?

    Just a few thoughs - I'm sure I will still try Google+ in the next few days just to see what all the fuss is about, but I really don't need another Facebook - 1 is a big enough timekiller!

  16. Me Too! ME Too!! MEME TOO!!!

    Great and timely post! Remember when everyone thought Android would have a hard time against the iPhone? Open sourcing your apps is very powerful.

  17. As soon as I heard about Google+, my first thoughts were how I could use it for my PLN and for education. I'm not a big fan of Facebook, but I think I like how Google+ wordks... Just haven't used it yet.

    If you have an invite, I'd love it if you would send one my way!

    Jeremy [ jeremy (at) MyTakeOnIt dot com ]

  18. Android phone plus Google docs have been winning me over. Curious about the Google plus thing. Would you invite please?

    Thank you!

  19. What else do people do at 4:00 a.m. when they can't sleep? Seems like a perfect time to discover Google+! Please invite me to the party. Thanks, Judy

  20. If you've provided your email in regular email form that enables me to copy/paste, you've been invited. For anyone else who wants an invite please email someone above as I will no longer be monitoring this post for invite requests.

    It might be interesting to note that I have found that there is much more conversation on G+ about posts and articles than I have found on other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. I look forward to connecting and learning with folks in all these places and hope to see some of you in the new hang out soon as well.

  21. Awesome,Lisa! Thanks a million! Very helpful post.

  22. (I hope this doesn't post a million times - been having issues)

    I would really appreciate an invite. I was curious before, but the Bloom's pic in your post won me over. Thanks!

  23. Please invite me:

  24. Lisa, thanks for sharing your initial review of +. I am resolved to explore more ways to use it in education. I would love an invite! Many thanks again,

  25. I would love to see how it can be used as well! Please invite!

  26. Please invite

  27. There is nothing more annoying that trying to download a free book and 1)being pestered by another "affiliate" program to "gather data" (facebook) and 2) being asked to PAY while trying to download the "free" document. (ScribeD).

    I would like to take a look at both your documents--the parenting guide and the teen guide if at all possible. Thank you.

  28. Thank you! It was very helpful to learn that Google+ can be used in a safe way in schools. I know the parents and my district are very cautious about Web2.0 technology use, but Google+ seems like something that could be acceptable.

    I would love to form discussion groups with my students in the way you mentioned. When I first heard about Google+, I just assumed it was another Facebook that I did not need. I am happy to hear, however, that it can have more educational use and is worth looking into. Now I just have to get my students' parents and the district on board. Any suggestions? I definitely plan to go on and read the other posts you mentioned about using Google+ in the classroom.

  29. Thanks to sharing acceptable suggestion. I absolutely like your site, I anticipate you accept the coolest account to accomplish your little guy is absorbed in learning.

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  30. Lisa, thanks for sharing your experiences with Google+. I know this post is a little dated, but the information is still very relevant. I love the links you posted, and will use these with my students. I also am very interested in having my students lead google hangouts. I'm always looking for ways to get them in front of people to strengthen their public speaking skills, and this is a great idea that can work even beyond my class walls.