Google+ is the coolest new thing on the web, everyone in the social world is talking about it. According to Mashable, in its ‘first three weeks, Google’s competitor to Facebook and Twitter has amassed more than 10 million users, and its users are sharing more than 1 billion pieces of content daily.’ It’s become a hotbed for early adopters, tech luminaries, marketers and businesses around the world.
Now it is opened to the public - invite free. We are extremely excited about the potential Google+ has within schools and education. Some schools are still yet to adopt social media but we believe Google+ is the one for schools. Why?
Targeted Sharing with Circles
Unlike Facebook you don’t add someone as a friend, you simply follow them - ahem, Twitter. But what makes it different to Twitter is that you have the ability to group these people you follow into different groups - or Circles as they’re known on Plus. I believe this is one of the main reasons Google+ is going to become huge in the education world. The ability to group people into circles allows a great amount of 'targeted sharing’ and helps build and nurture relationships with specific groups without the pain of having unnecessary news or information filling up people’s feeds which is a problem on Twitter and Facebook.
What could a Circle be? We think the basics should be 'Parents’, 'Students’ and 'Public’ should be the groups that are essential. Once a suitable level of students are engaged on Google+ then go niche with subjects and topics such as 'History’ and 'WWII’. This allows not only engagement and relationship building and student collaboration but also the ability to be able to teach and help the student with and problems.
A recurring problem that schools find with social media is the lack of privacy and that everything is public. But this is especially not true with Google+. By having a 'Public’ Circle you can choose which information you wish to share out to the public.
Teach with Hangouts
Many educators have found Skype to a be a hugely popular tool in the classroom. The ability to bring guests have speakers into the room and help better the student experience has been a great asset. However, Skype is a desktop app and many people have wished for a web app that can be accessed anywhere. Now its here, and better! Google Hangouts can allow up to 10 people at once to be part of a video conference. Being able to see up to 10 experts on a subject discuss their passion is very exciting.
Google are constantly innovating and don’t expect Google+ to be the final product. However, do expect a great number of new features to be rolled out in the future. Some of the potential updates could include integration to Docs, apps and other collaboration tools.