Here are some great ways to use Google Hangouts in your classroom.

My Social Studies class was talking about other countries and cultures. We really wanted a way to make a global connection by talking to students in another country. I posted to Google+ publicly and also to Google+ communities asking if anyone was interested in connecting classrooms. We were able to find a Peace Corps volunteer working in Micronesia that was willing. We used Google Hangouts to connect. It was a great experience for our class. We had a list of questions and then voted for our favorites to ask the other group. We also did research about where they live and their culture. It was a great experience for the Micronesian students as well. They had been working on their English skills and were excited to try them.

Once a week my students do a Hangout On Air to showcase a lesson of the week. Sometimes it is students sharing their reading or writing, other times a science experiment and findings. It’s been a great way for our parents and community to connect with our classroom. My students love having an authentic audience to talk to. The confidence that it’s building for students has been really amazing to watch develop.

I needed to have a meeting with parents before we went on a field trip. Many parents could not attend, and finding a date and time was starting to feel impossible. I decided to broadcast the meeting using Hangouts On Air to allow parents to attend in person, attend online, or view later. It was a really great way to make sure all parents had the opportunity to review the information. I also found that I received far fewer questions because parents had access to the information. The field trip was one of the best we have had. I am now considering providing parent conferences and other Hangout opportunities in my class.

I teach a computer class to High School students. I also organize our school Tech Support group. Inspired by Kern Kelly’s group of students that host the Tech Sherpa Show, my students want to provide tech support to people in our community. We are working to organize times and a structure that will allow for a twice monthly Google Hangouts with community members to provide individual tech support. The students are excited, and the feedback from our community has been really positive. They love that they are respected for their knowledge and are finding a way to provide a service to the community.

While I was away from my classroom on a trip, I called into my class through Google Hangouts to give them a quick virtual field trip. I had a teacher next door allow me to call her, and then she took her laptop to my class so the substitute was not overwhelmed by the technology. My students loved seeing where I was and knowing I was thinking about them while away. I showed them things that related to our curriculum like different animal habitats. It was a lesson they are still talking about.

My class was discussing WWII and really wanted to learn more. I invited a family friend who is a WWII veteran to speak to the class about his experience. We used Google Hangouts On Air to share with any class that wanted to join us and allow for the session to be recorded. The class did research ahead of time to prepare. They submitted questions to me via a Google Form to be considered for the Hangout. I reviewed and organized the questions to allow for a better flow of conversation. I organized questions by categories such as early life, military beginnings, WWII, and life after the military. Once I knew which questions were going to be part of the Hangout, I checked to see which students had media permission to be on camera. For those that did not, I asked the question on their behalf. What’s more, the on-air feature allowed other classes in the school and around the world to watch the interview. Because the lesson was recorded, we now have a firsthand account of history recorded to pass on when this man is no longer able to tell his own story.