Web 2.0 Tools | Why I’m Kinda Excited About Google+ and Schools

Originally posted by Doug Johnson @ The Blue Skunk Blog
19-JUL-11

While my expertise is now nearly as lacking for Google+ as it’s been for Facebook, I can’t help but see how this tool, when available as a part of Google Apps for Education, may be a game-changer in how students and staff communicate for educational purposes.


Here’s why:

  1. Google+ allows one to have a separate “professional-only” venue for online networking. Facebook suffers from having started as a “social” networking site – “social” having a recreational, personal, even, frivolous connotation. But with Google+ as a part of GoogleApps for Education, the teacher’s Google+ account can be a school-only or professional-use-only tool. To keep kids and parents out of one’s degenerate personal Facebook information (since one is not supposed to have multiple Facebook accounts), teachers have had to resort to Fan pages and other limited means of utilizing Facebook. Guidelines were needed. Google+ for work and Facebook (or a personal Google+ site for personal use) keeps things simple.
  2. Circles in Google+ are easy to make, edit and delete. Hey, teachers are all about circles – reading circles, sharing circles, literature circles. Google+ circles seem easier than e-mail lists for communicating with groups ranging from “all third graders” to “my seventh hour biology class” to “the team working on The Crucible presentation” to “the members of my PLC.”
  3. There is a possibility of a “walled garden” use of Google+ for younger students. I am hoping that, like with GoogleApps, the default setting for sharing will be “within the domain only.” While e-mail, Docs and web pages should be shareable with those outside school, especially for secondary students, I still like the comfort of knowing that we might be able to restrict Google+ for elementary students to only those users within our own district.
  4. There is already a familiarity with Gmail, GoogleApps, and other Google interfaces. When I ask students about whether we should offer students a school-supplied social networking tool like Edmodo or Saywire or a Ning, I invariably get: “No, let’s just use Facebook since we already use it.” Google+ might be an acceptable compromise. Students and staff are already using GoogleApps and have a regularly used account. Established school Google accounts mean not having to create yet one more user name and password. GoogleApps are easily accessed from the iGoogle portal (or just from Gmail). Google+ will be seen as an enhancement to our current tool set, not “just one more thing to learn.”

I’ve always wanted our school to provide an educational networking tool that took advantage of Facebook’s ease of use and popularity, but somehow remained dedicated to learning.

Google+ might be just what I’ve been looking for.

About the Author:

Doug Johnson is the Director of Media and Technology for the Mankato (MN) Public Schools. His teaching experience has included work in grades K-12. He is the author of five books, a long-running column in Library Media Connection, The Blue Skunk Blog, and his articles appear in over forty books and periodicals. Doug has worked with over 130 organizations around the world and has held leadership positions in state and national organizations, including ISTE and AASL.

Find the original post here.Here’s why:

  1. Google+ allows one to have a separate “professional-only” venue for online networking. Facebook suffers from having started as a “social” networking site – “social” having a recreational, personal, even, frivolous connotation. But with Google+ as a part of GoogleApps for Education, the teacher’s Google+ account can be a school-only or professional-use-only tool. To keep kids and parents out of one’s degenerate personal Facebook information (since one is not supposed to have multiple Facebook accounts), teachers have had to resort to Fan pages and other limited means of utilizing Facebook. Guidelines were needed. Google+ for work and Facebook (or a personal Google+ site for personal use) keeps things simple.
  2. Circles in Google+ are easy to make, edit and delete. Hey, teachers are all about circles – reading circles, sharing circles, literature circles. Google+ circles seem easier than e-mail lists for communicating with groups ranging from “all third graders” to “my seventh hour biology class” to “the team working on The Crucible presentation” to “the members of my PLC.”
  3. There is a possibility of a “walled garden” use of Google+ for younger students. I am hoping that, like with GoogleApps, the default setting for sharing will be “within the domain only.” While e-mail, Docs and web pages should be shareable with those outside school, especially for secondary students, I still like the comfort of knowing that we might be able to restrict Google+ for elementary students to only those users within our own district.
  4. There is already a familiarity with Gmail, GoogleApps, and other Google interfaces. When I ask students about whether we should offer students a school-supplied social networking tool like Edmodo or Saywire or a Ning, I invariably get: “No, let’s just use Facebook since we already use it.” Google+ might be an acceptable compromise. Students and staff are already using GoogleApps and have a regularly used account. Established school Google accounts mean not having to create yet one more user name and password. GoogleApps are easily accessed from the iGoogle portal (or just from Gmail). Google+ will be seen as an enhancement to our current tool set, not “just one more thing to learn.”

I’ve always wanted our school to provide an educational networking tool that took advantage of Facebook’s ease of use and popularity, but somehow remained dedicated to learning.

Google+ might be just what I’ve been looking for.

About the Author:

Doug Johnson is the Director of Media and Technology for the Mankato (MN) Public Schools. His teaching experience has included work in grades K-12. He is the author of five books, a long-running column in Library Media Connection, The Blue Skunk Blog, and his articles appear in over forty books and periodicals. Doug has worked with over 130 organizations around the world and has held leadership positions in state and national organizations, including ISTE and AASL.

Find the original post here.

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