Friday, October 26, 2012

Extending the Classroom with Google+

Recently, Information Services made two new Google tools available through our Gmail accounts.  These tools, Google+ and Blogger, were implemented at the request of several faculty who wanted to experiment with them in their classes.  One of the benefits of having access to these tools from within our NSCC Google suite is that faculty and students will not have to sign-up for a separate Gmail account with an additional username and password.

Google+ is Google's social networking platform.  Faculty, staff, and students now have access to this tool from within our Google suite by clicking on the +You (or +Your Name) option in the black toolbar at the top.

Google+ has several features and one of them is Google Hangouts which is a tool that allows for video conferencing with up to ten people.

Here are just a few uses of Google Hangouts inside and outside of the classroom:
  • Hold small group meetings with faculty, staff or students
  • Conduct virtual office hours
  • Share computer screen to walk through a web site or demonstrate a software program
  • View and discuss YouTube videos
  • View and/or edit Google Documents collaboratively for writing workshops or group projects
  • Bring in a guest lecturer
To use Google Hangouts, you do need to set up a Google+ profile within your Gmail account.  You can do one-on-one video conferencing without a Google+ profile.
Note: When entering your birth date, make sure you do not select a year that will make you 13 years or younger. This will lock your North Shore Gmail account.
For more information on social media in the classroom and using Google+, please take a look at these resources:
Please do not hesitate to contact us at to brainstorm ideas for integrating Google+ and other social media into your teaching or for assistance in using any of these tools.

• Do you see a use for Google+, especially Google Hangouts, in the teaching and learning environment?  What goals might this tool help you meet?
• What challenges do you see to using Google+?
• What role, if any, does social media play in the classroom?