Monday, November 14, 2016

What is Google Hangouts?

Guest Blog by Bailey Porter, EDU 222 Student @ Murray State University

The online application Google Hangouts is a video chatting and messaging app much like Skype or FaceTime. However, in my opinion, Google Hangouts offers a more pertinent option for the classroom setting. Google Hangouts provides an opportunity for educators to redefine a once unengaging lesson. The introduction of technology into a classroom has the ability to reinvent assignments. Hangouts offers several opportunities to do just this. Google Hangouts is available on a smartphone, tablet and computer, making it simple for the whole class to access. An entire classroom can connect with people from around the world using one computer with a camera, and a projector. This gives teachers the ability to take the class to any location on the globe, connect with a scientist and watch his exploration, the opportunity to connect with the author of a book the class is reading, have a debate with another classroom, and the ability to play "Mystery Hangouts" in which a classroom video chats with another class and both attempt to identify where the other class lives through yes and no clues.

None of this would have been possible without this technology. Students now have opportunities to learn in a completely different way. The once boring lesson comparing regions like the Amazon Rainforest to the Sahara Desert can now be an engaging activity  through speaking to people who actually live in those locations. Students are also able to work on projects cooperatively with other students no matter the distance. While these activities are possible through other technologies, I believe Hangouts offers the simplest and most reliable option. 

Incorporating these unique and engaging lessons into a classroom will make the class more enjoyable for both student and educator.

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