Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Google Hangout...for Homework?!

Tomorrow night, on Google Hangouts, I will be leading my classes through a 20-30 minute review of fragments and run-ons before their quiz on Thursday. 

Yes, I said "night."

Completely experimental, I am hoping to find some success with Google Hangouts from home so that I can open it up to other opportunities for the students. Part of my vision is having an occasional guest speaker for the kids to listen to some nights. I can imagine another teacher, an author, an artist, or historian, sharing a few anecdotes that may help enhance something we are discussing in class. I see using it 1-2 nights per month this year.

Perhaps one of the next nights will feature several of us reading some Civil War letters or poetry or original texts the night before our field trip to Gettysburg?

While Google Hangouts only allows a few people to actually be in the room, it does permit everyone (as long as they have an invitation when it is private) to watch the discussion. 

In the future I can see myself using "Today's Meet" or even my classroom Twitter account as a backchannel to enable contributions from the kids watching.

It isn't mandatory and I am not offering a homework grade or points for it--I am simply offering the help for those who want it. Those who want to come, can come.

In the future it will be used for enrichment, or engagement with a writer, sor omething to make their experience as an 8th grader in my class a little richer and little more interesting.

To set it up, I used the "Events" feature in Google+ to schedule the video chat and to send out invitations. Also included on my invite list were my principal and IT professional for our building.

In addition to my talk, I shared the upcoming Google Hangout scheduled by New York Times best selling author Lauren Oliver. She and a panel of writers will be hanging out to talk about banned books, censorship, and writing about difficult themes. Several of my students are excited to listen to an author they read and know speak about such an important subject.

These kinds of opportunities were not available to me as an adolescent...heck, they were not even available ten years ago...three years ago? 

Stay tuned...

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