Unit 3 extension: Test out Google+

Google+ may be one of the newer players in the social networking scene, but it’s enormous and becoming more popular every day.

Here are a few ways that Google+ can work as part of your PLN:

  • You add people to “circles” and then choose which information or posts you send to which circle – so you can have a PLN circle. Your PLN circle might include people you know from the course, but you can also add inspiring people from all over the world, and then you’ll see their updates.
  • You can join existing circles or communities and connect with individuals and organisations. Here are just a few education circles to explore.
  • It is a very useful collaboration tool – for planning or working on projects together – sharing documents and discussions, and holding online meetings.
  • It offers video chats for up to ten people (called Hangouts) with a very easy interface – great for collaboration.
  • You can also be part of the audience in larger Hangouts on Air which integrate YouTube recording and videos (we’ll try one of these later in the course so you see how they work).
  • It offers photo storage through Picasa and is integrated with your Gmail and Google Docs (Drive) as part of the Google suite of tools.
  • Many media outlets and organisations use Google+ as it allows them to share longer posts and larger images than either Facebook or Twitter, and is integrated with YouTube.

These services can also be used within schools and with students: a hangout as a virtual book club, for example, or a circle of students working on a project.

You already have a Google account, so you can use Google+ without signing up for yet another new account. But there’s one important difference: a Google+ account is like the public version of your Google account. You can set up a public profile including a picture, and connect with others in a number of ways.

Privacy and security settings are, again, a matter for your personal decision, but many schools find that they don’t have the same concern around students using Google+ that they do about Facebook, for example.

So if you’d like to explore Google+, sign in to your Google account, and have a play:

We think Google+ has huge potential, and new functions are added all the time. We’d love to hear what you think – tell us in your blog post or in Edmodo.

That’s (no, we really mean it this time!) the final task for this unit. Go back to the Unit 3 overview to refresh your memory on the reflection questions for your blog post.