At its core, Google+ Hangouts is simply a souped-up version of video chat. But when it comes to education, it’s so much more than that. It becomes a vehicle for learning, sharing, collaboration, and ideas. Whether you’re an educator in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, discussing learning practices, or a first-grade classroom speaking with an astronaut, Hangouts have seemingly endless possibilities. These are our 50 favorite ways for schools to use Google Plus Hangouts. How do you plan to use this cool tool?
Teaching & Administration
Professional learning, meetings, even college recruitment are all possible with Hangouts.
- Campus previews: Using Hangouts, admissions counselors can chat with students and discuss what it’s like to attend their college or university.
- Professional discussion: Through Google Hangouts, personal learning networks can come together on a regular basis for discussions.
- Team meetings: Teachers spend enough time at school. With Hangouts, teachers can conduct team meetings away from the classroom.
- Board meetings: University board members may be stretched far and wide. With Hangouts, members can meet virtually while still enjoying face-to-face interaction.
- Recruitment chats: Google+ Hangouts can be a virtual college fair table, offering Q&A sessions for the admissions process and even highlighting important people on campus like department chairs.
- Policy discussion: Join the debate by taking part in The Power of Ten Hangout, hosted every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EST to discuss education’s future.
- Peer review: Education professionals can create a Hangout to ask colleagues for a review and brainstorming session for interesting classroom ideas, journal articles, and more.
- PR chats: Instead of press conferences, small announcements can be made with Hangouts, as university leadership open up a chat for news outlets, alumni, and other interested parties.
- Staff professional development: Instead of traditional professional development days, these sessions can be taken care of through Google Hangouts.
Connect with students even when you’re not in the classroom, thanks to Google+ Hangouts.
- Virtual office hours: It can be difficult to schedule face to face time on campus, but with Hangouts, teachers can set a time to meet with students wherever they are.
- Homework help sessions: Teachers can set up regular homework help sessions to assist students who may need a little support as they complete their assignments in the evening.
- Review sessions: Before big exams hit, professors can host Hangouts where they share hints and essential information with students.
- Tutorials: For students who want a little extra help, tutorial sessions on G+ Hangouts can be a great way to get small group assistance.
- Peer to peer helpline: Classrooms can establish a peer-to-peer helpline co-op, where students can log on to a G+Hangout to help out their fellow students with homework and tutorials.
- Mentor groups: Small mentoring groups can get together through Hangouts, updating both mentors and mentees on new developments.
Teaching with Hangouts
Hangouts make it easy to bring students, teachers and classrooms together, with these ideas and more.
- Distance learning: There are so many ways that students can enjoy distance learning. One example is cooking schools that are using Hangouts to share lessons and cooking tips.
- Extended discussions: After classroom discussions are over, students or teachers can open up a Hangout to facilitate further discussion.
- Talks around the world: Zookeepers at Zoo Atlanta use Google Plus Hangouts to host keeper talks, making it easy for students of all ages around the world to learn about animals.
- Foreign language Hangouts: Foreign language students can participate in video conversations using Google Translation to better understand each other.
- Mobile learning: Hangouts are available not just on computers, but mobile phones as well, making it possible for students and teachers to log into the chat anywhere they are.
- Public teaching: Using the Hangouts on Air feature, educators can open their session up to all Google+ users worldwide, allowing for broadcasting, online conferences, and massive study sessions.
- Remote participation: Students who are sick or traveling can still attend class virtually even when they can’t physically be there.
- Scheduled discussions: Professors, especially those with online courses, can set up scheduled discussion Hangouts to get students together and talking.
- Remote lessons: Music teacher Thomas J. West has been using Google Hangouts to share his lessons with students anywhere and everywhere.
- Review video lectures: If you post your lectures to YouTube, you can integrate them into a Hangout. Simply rewatch your lecture in the Hangout, pausing for re-teaching and offering a director’s cut with further discussion.
- Video archives: All Google+ Hangouts can be saved and archived, making it easy for instructors to share class sessions with students who didn’t make it.
- Teaching off-campus: Professors can share their knowledge with the world by teaching off-campus lectures through Hangouts.
- Book club: This idea is especially helpful for sister classrooms as they come together to discuss the same book. Using Hangouts, classrooms from around the world can host a book club together.
- Show and tell: Video conferences used to be a little hard to follow, with lots of small windows for each participant. But with Hangouts, the person who is speaking takes the big screen, allowing for a virtual show and tell.
- Sketching parties: Art students can come together on Google Hangouts to host and participate in sketching parties.
- Go behind the scenes: Students can join G+ Hangouts to get behind the scenes access for everything from broadcasting to running a zoo.
- Broadcast student performances
: Open up student presentations and performances beyond your classroom by sharing them in a Hangout.
- Creating a story: Together, classmates or classes can take turns building a basic story that they’ve written together, entering and sharing their work in the Hangout’s Google Doc.
- Career spotlights: Teachers can poll students to find out what their parents do for a living, then ask parents to host a weekly career spotlight explaining what they do.
- Bringing in an expert: It might be cost-prohibitive for small schools to bring in experts for in-person lectures, but just about anyone can ask to connect with an expert over Hangouts, bringing a valuable resource into the classroom.
- Panel discussions: Forget hosting just one expert, bring several in at a time to participate in a classroom panel discussion.
- Reader’s theater: Several students can take on different parts in a play, acting it all out on a Hangout chat.
School is social, and Hangouts can make it even easier to connect. Try out these ideas at your school.
- Get to know you sessions: Through new student Hangouts, colleges can make it easier for new students to meet each other before they even step foot on campus.
- Connecting students abroad: Students who are studying abroad may feel a little disconnected from the campus. Setting up Hangouts, where they can talk to potential study abroad students, can help them feel a little more grounded.
- Staying in touch: Connections can drop off over the summer, but with Google Hangouts, students can stay connected and keep relationships solid for back to school.
- Student-alumni mentoring: Recent grads can connect with current students through Hangouts, offering personal chats on what life is like after graduation.
Group projects, brainstorming sessions, and more are all great ways to use Hangouts for collaboration in schools.
- Document editing: Google now allows users to add and create docs in Google Hangouts, making it easy to collaboratively edit documents through the service.
- Study groups: Students who want to study together, but can’t actually be together can take advantage of the Hangouts service to get connected virtually.
- Project feedback: Through Hangouts, students can get critiques on their work before they ever bring it to the classroom, getting a chance to fine-tune it beforehand.
Take education to the next level with these Hangout ideas.
- Connecting with fans: College athletics programs have begun hosting Hangouts sessions, allowing fans to question coaches and athletic directors for their favorite teams.
- Club meetings: Just like study sessions and group projects, Hangouts offer a great option for school club meetings.
- Engaging with alumni: Alumni Hangout sessions are a fun way to keep former students connected with the school and each other.
- Career connections: Colleges can set up meetings between employers and students simply by creating small Hangout groups.
- Remote helpdesk: With a screen-sharing option, Google Hangouts are great for school IT departments, allowing for a higher level of support.
- Host a cheap concert: Avoid having to pay for flights, hotels, and insane requests by simply hosting a Hangout concert.