How I Use It
Whether I am conferencing with students who couldn’t make it to my office hours, or checking in with some colleagues, the google hangout app is an easy way for teachers and students alike to communicate. In my own classroom, I use the google hangout app for student writing groups to peer review their essays. Students can use google hangouts along with google docs to peer edit their work. This app can also be used to invite guest speakers into the classroom without worrying about paying their travelling fees. When teaching a lesson on the Drake Equation, I was able to bring an astrophysicist into our classroom through google hangouts. Not only are students able to easily use google hangouts, but this app is well known, and if you want to use it to invite guest speakers, they will most likely know how to use it.
Once you familiarize yourself with this app, it can easily be used in your classroom. While I did struggle at first with setting up a hangout, once you have had a few practice runs, you won’t have any problems setting up future hangouts. One thing I really liked about this app is that it saves your google hangouts to youtube so you can watch your hangouts later (this comes in handy if you missed something while the hangout was happening or if you internet goes out). If your wifi isn’t the strongest or fastest, expect your connection to drop off. If you happen to be “hanging” out with a special guest, they may not be too pleased with you constantly hanging up on them. Another limitation to this app is that students must have access to a computer with a video camera. Of course students can still participate in google hangouts without using the camera function. I would recommend using this app in the classroom as it has a lot of potential.