How I Use It
I used it in my Careers classroom by creating a Hangout with 3 people who went to 3 different educational pathways in 3 different cities. One was in New York City, one in Toronto, and one in Mombasa, India. The one in New York went to a prestigious university, the one in Toronto went to a Canadian university, and the one in Mombasa went to a college. The three people were successful in their respective careers and the students in my class had the ability to ask them questions and interact with them.
It was easy to schedule the Hangout because it did not take much time away from their working days as they remained in their offices. Students were able to talk to each of the three people and the people were able to respond/react. It showed students an innovative form of communication that they must be fluent in to ensure their future success.
Everything went great and there were minor connection problems which were quickly resolved by restarting the program. When a person on the conference is dropped they immediately call back and are up and running within a matter of seconds. Students loved the interaction and the varied job and educational choices. The Google Hangout tool was certainly successful and students had some great learning experiences!
Based on the Google Hangout conference we had, I was able to evaluate students based on their contributions to the conference and the job they did. Students also had to submit a report as a group for which they were to work in their own time using Google conference to collaborate. It was very successful and I would use it again in my other classes!
I think Google Hangout takes 21st Century learning to the next level of innovation and experiential teaching. It allows the students the experience of a field trip right from their very own seats. As a teaching tool, the specific content depends on who is on the other end of the Hangout, but there is a world of possibility for any teacher. Students can even be using this to 'Hangout' with each other to collaborate for projects and assignments.
I like that it's easy to use and does not need a lot of set up. All you need is a Gmail account, a webcam (which is on most laptops), and you're good to go! It serves the teacher very well because it gives the ability to conference or interview people outside of the school to suit the teaching material. The students are served because they get to physically interact with the conference, and they get to take the lead in setting up the 'Hangout' meeting with the external people. They are also served because it offers a safe space of collaboration with their peers for group work. Google Drive has helped make the teaching experience transformed by adding a collaborative aspect that was seen very few times before. Another cool take was the animations that students could add onto their conferences, adding a touch of fun in their collaborations.
In my experience, Skype already accomplished this and it's already been done. Google hangout enhances this experience because it's free and you can conference up to 10 people. With Skype, you have to pay for more than 1 person at the same time. My students were able to conference in their own time within their own spaces using Google Hangout for their groups assignments.