Monday, February 23, 2015

Ideas for Using Google Hangouts in the Classroom

On twitter, I ran across a post by Jay Eitner called "Virtual Debates - a new staple for ELA classes." What I found there was a video of a debate between two schools, with outside judges, all conducted online under the guidance and leadership of Melissa Butler (@AngelinaShy). 

This is EXACTLY what we need to be doing with our students through the use of technology! Melissa has taken down the walls of the classroom and connected her students to an authentic audience. Last January I wrote about connecting students to the world, and this is an incredible example of putting ideas into action. 

Here are three more ideas for using Google Hangouts to connect your students to others across the globe:

1. Research & Mentoring. Have students identify a real-life problem, research, and propose a solution via a presentation. Connect students with experts in the field, such as engineers, attorneys, surgeons, architects, etc. for mentoring. Create a panel of professionals to evaluate presentations. 

2. Find the Opposite.  Intentionally provide your students with opportunities to see and hear opposing viewpoints from theirs. For example, two classrooms, one in the North and one in the South, study a unit of history together and relate experiences, viewpoints, and perceptions.

3. When will I ever use this? Let the experts answer this question for your students! From designers to actors to entrepreneurs to business owners to athletes... find someone with whom your students can relate and respect. 

*Check out this idea for a classroom where students are invited to "hangout" if they are physically absent: Dr. Graff's Math Classes

*And with all of the snow that's been falling across the country, here's an idea for using Google Hangouts on snow days! Google Takes Snow Days Away from Students? 

What are other ways to use Google Hangouts with students?

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