Using Google+ as a professional tool27-Mar-2013
After last week’s blog post , which considered some of the potential benefits and limitations of using Google+ as a classroom tool, this week I’ll be looking at the uses of Google+ for professional development.
If you’re already set up with a Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook profile, setting yourself up with a Google+ profile perhaps feels like any unnecessary next step. Especially as in some ways, Google+ simply combines many of the pre-existing features from other social networks. However, if like me your internet browsing largely revolves around your use of Google, then the level of integration that G+ allows between your social profile and internet use can be beneficial for using the network as a tool for professional development.
While Google+ users generally appear to be less active than those on Facebook, as this article suggests, the difference between ‘passive’ and ‘active’ usage allows you to make use of many of the Google+ features without feeling the pressure of having to constantly update yet another social profile.
Communities for instance are a great way to discover new materials aligned to the topics you’re interested in. Unlike on Facebook, posts to Google+ are more visually attractive and appear as mini-blog posts. As the posts support hashtags you can easily find what you’re looking for and filter out any irrelevant content. Google+ also places a much greater emphasis on public communities compared to Facebook groups, which makes this feature feel more accessible as a tool to find and share articles, posts and videos related to your professional interests.
A short list of some of the existing communities that educators and English language teachers may find useful include:
As well as this, in terms of professional development Hangouts are another big benefit of the Google+ system. Unlike tools such as Skype and Blackboard Collaborate, which require a separate set up process to get started, Hangouts are automatically accessible to anyone with a Google+ account. As mentioned in the previous post, this can be great for webinars and peer to peer interaction. For teachers, virtual classroom visits as suggested here could also be an interesting use for this feature. Using Hangouts as a tool for teacher observation, without having someone physically hovering over you in the classroom, allows for teacher feedback to be given in a way which is less disruptive to the natural flow of a lesson. For more on using Hangouts, this article includes some useful tips on how to get started.
Finally, if you’re looking after an organisation then a simple, but effective, feature to use are Pages . From here, I can easily switch between the different pages I look after for onestopenglish and Macmillan English Campus for example, allowing me to quickly share the right information with the right groups.
Add us to your circles and share with us your thoughts either on Google+ or in the comments section below!
Read more in Julie’s Google + series by following the links below.