Google Hangouts is Google's messaging and video conferencing tool that is available for free to anyone that has a gmail account. It has been around for a few years and there are many cool things you can do with it. A few years ago, I did a Hangout with a few of my friends and we shared Youtube videos with each other while sitting in the comfort of our own living rooms. Regardless of the numerous uses for Hangouts, I want to focus specifically on the Hangouts extension for Chrome.
With using the Hangouts Extension, a user stays logged into Hangouts while using their Chrome browser. There is no need to be on gmail or Google+. As long as Chrome is open, users can send messages to one another as well as video conference. Users can also add multiple people to a conversation just by searching their email address. How to install the extension and strike up a conversation can all be found in the following video.
Now that I'm a part of MSD of Steuben County, I envision Hangouts as a great place for teachers to collaborate when time is convenient. Let's face it, it is difficult to schedule times to meet together on a face-to-face basis when your kids have soccer games and dance practices to attend after school. During my time at East Noble, teachers even used Hangouts to collaborate during school closing due to weather. The teachers were still working as the students were participating in an eLearning day, but this allowed the teachers to make the most of their time and fit those conversations in when distance and weather kept them apart. I also plan on running some Hangouts for training purposes in the evenings as not all teachers can make it to training times after school.
As this is my first official post as part of MSD of Steuben County, I hope my readers find it of value and helpful as they pursue ideas of how to enhance the learning experience using technology and also better ways to be efficient educators. Let's use Hangouts this year to do just that. Go Hornets!