Friday, 4 April 2014

Using Google Hangouts to Enrich Student Learning

This year my class has had some unique opportunities through Google Plus and Google Hangouts. Today we had a great experience when we attended a Virtual Field Trip through Google's online community "Connected Classrooms" on Google Plus. 
We were attending Mr. Cameron Young's "Virtual Snake Hike".

We joined the Google Hangout space at the same time as Mr. Jose Luis Gutierrez Sanchez's Grade 3 class in Mexico. An impromptu Hangout started as our two classes just naturally started talking to each other. Then our snake expert, Mr Cameron Young came online and started his tour. As there were only a few classes on the virtual trip, we were able to engage directly with Mr. Young and ask his questions as he shared the snakes at the Center for Snake Conservation in Denver, Colorado.

At the beginning of this year I started using Google Hangouts to create a more engaging way for students to learn about other Provinces in Canada. Google Hangouts is an excellent tool to allow students to meet each other no matter where they're located around the country. I created a community for teachers in Canada to connect on Google Plus.
We did Google Hangouts with students in Prince Edward Island, and in British Columbia. The students were able to ask questions about things they had read in a book about those provinces, and found out how their lives in Ontario were similiar/different from other Provinces.
Then I was lucky enough to connect with Mr. Frey's class is at Parkway Public School We connected our classes through Google Hangouts. His class was the audience for my class as we performed a play for a live audience. Afterwards we sought out feedback from his class, again using Google Hangouts as well as a back channel with Today's Meet. The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and we knew that we wanted to have more opportunities to allow students to collaborate. Recently our students connected to check on the progress of a shared web site they were building together with Google Sites.
After having success meeting classes across Canada, we tried other countries. We met a class from Serbia and had a conversation about culture. We were also able to meet a class from Scotland and learn a bit about what life was like for them. My students were fascinated by these opportunities, and really enjoyed learning about what life was like for students in different countries.
Communities on Google Plus that foster collaboration between classes:
G+EduHangouts and Google Hangouts in Education.

Moving forward, my goal is to have ongoing collaboration with other classes. There is so much we can share, and a wide world of students to learn with!

8 comments:

  1. This is really a great use of technology! Great job of documenting it as well. I facilitate VFT's for teachers in Southern Utah, would love to connect!

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  2. Great post Scott! Thanks for sharing out your journey! It looks like you have been doing a tremendous job getting yourself and your students connected outside the walls of Canada.

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  3. Great post Scott! I just started using google hangouts 2 months ago. In 2 short months we've had an opportunity to hangout with students in 6 different states, Argentina and Brazil. My class has also had the opportunity to work with Mr.Cameron on his snake tours!! We are in Canada as well but I am having a hard time finding other teachers without on country. Would love to connect sometime!

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    1. I would like that. Let's try something in May?

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  4. Great post. I would like to connect with a class in Scotland for our MACBETH GOES SOCIAL project. Students in SC will be doing a table reading with residents of Glasgow soon. We'd love more contact with Scotland. Please can you share your contact?

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  5. great...Great post. I would like to connect with a class in Scotland for our MACBETH GOES SOCIAL project. Students in SC will be doing a table reading with residents of Glasgow soon. We'd love more contact with Scotland. Please can you share your contact?

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  6. Additionally, you may even try using WebEx, Gotomeeting, RHUB etc.for conducting online classes

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  7. I would like to connect with a class in Spain, I have a Spanish Class in Michigan.

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