Friday, February 24, 2012

3 Great Ways to Use Google+ Hangouts to Learn & Connect

Google+ Hangouts are a terrific and free tool that opens up new ways to teach and learn. The following video provides three examples of ways Google+ Hangouts are being used that might inspire ideas in your own classroom. Below the video I elaborate on how each idea can be used and include the minutes/seconds in the video at which time you can see each idea in action. 

Three examples of using Google+ Hangouts to teach and learn in new ways

Here is how this might be applicable in your school or classroom.

1) Take a class without having to be in the same place. (00.00 in video)
You can have up to ten participants in a Google+ Hangout.  What can that mean for teaching and learning? Here are some ideas.
  • Invite up to 9 classes/individuals to learn from one expert. This can be great in communities where there is perhaps only one teacher for a particular subject but a few students in various schools interested in learning.
  • Sick or traveling students can participate when they are not able to attend class.
  • Learners can connect with others who share their passions and interests even if they are not in their school / class. For example there might be students from other schools, communities that join your class.
  • Invite up to 9 home instruction students (those who are home because of illness or other reasons) to join in a live class.
2) Invite an audience to a performance. (00.33 in video)
Google+ Hangout provides a great way to empower students to find an authentic audience by being able to invite up to 9 other people to listen to their performance, presentation, reading, etc.  Here are some ideas.
  • Have students invite some family members and / or friends to watch a performance.
  • Have students find others who share their passions through places like blogs and discussion groups and invite them to watch.
  • Connect with other classes that might want to watch a student perform.  They will be able to chat to give feedback and even give live applause, questions, etc.  
3) Invite others to perform/discuss with you. (00.50 in video)
Google+ Hangout provides a way for you to connect with others even if they are not geographically desirable. This can be great for a student looking to connect with others that may not exist at their school.  Here are some ideas.
  • A student who wants to study music and perform can do so even if there is no such program in their school or community. With Google Hangout, they can connect with others and practice, perform, and jam together.
  • A student who wants to study a certain type of theater can do so with others and do a virtual reading with Hangout.
  • If you do book clubs in your school, you may discover you have some students with unique tastes.  Let them do book talks with others using Google Hangout.
  • Support young people in developing their personal learning networks and create times to have online discussions with others who share their passions.  
Tools like Skype have enabled us to connect with another person for quite a few years now. Tools like Google Hangout however are allowing us to connect with many others around the world for free. This has powerful implications for teaching and learning that should not be ignored. These are some innovative ways Google+ Hangout can be used to enrich teaching and learning. I look forward to discovering more with and from other innovative educators. If you have an idea, share it here.


  1. Thx 4 sharing.
    wondering if nesting can be done? What i mean by that is when 9 people are in the hangout then one of them can invite 9 more people. #TXTNLRN_asks

  2. No. There is only room for nine people in a Hangout and I believe you can only participate in one Hangout at a time with each Google account.

  3. I love this, Lisa!
    You can also screen-cast your Hang-out so tons of peeps can watch even though they might not be "in" the Hang-out.
    Great ideas here, thanks!

  4. I've used Google+ Hangouts to run TA sessions for a math-heavy grad school course. It's not quite the same as being there in person, but it's pretty close, and the price is certainly right.