How I Use It
I use it mostly as a tutoring/ help tool for my students one on one. The few times that I have used it in small groups it has worked well too. While nothing replaces face to face contact with my students, I find that using video chat programs like Google hangouts are a great tool for a teacher like myself who works in an independent study environment where I'm unable to see my students in person on a daily basis.
Google hangouts, while similar to Skype, work well for me as someone whose school uses Google products and apps extensively. I use Google hangouts in two ways, as an independent study teacher it is great to use for my virtual office hours and help my students with their various classes online. All of our students are required to have online access so I'm able to have this available as a tool for all of my students. It works pretty well for small groups too although my use with multiple students at once has been limited. I do hope to try holding small group meetings more as this school year goes on. Google hangouts has also worked well in collaborating with fellow teachers and is a great tool for online professional development.