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Monday, July 2, 2012

Using Google Hangout in Education - 10 Ways to Use in the Elementary Classroom

I'm no expert - especially when it comes to Google+ Hangout. In fact, I've only used it a couple of times. However, I can see the many and varied possibilities for use in an elementary classroom. Classes can collaborate in ways not been done before! Here are 10 ways elementary classes can use Google+ Hangout to connect for more collaborative, authentic learning. (Class would need a Google+ Account)

English Language Arts:
1. Reader's Theater: Each participating classroom will have one or several parts in the play; or each classroom will share a different play. After the play discuss the elements of the story.

2. Book Club - Each class can read the same book (off line) then come together to discuss the setting, character, plot, rising action, conflict and solution. Or classes can participate in their own mini read aloud based on the Global Read Aloud.

3. Create a Story: Using a basic story (outlined by participating teachers) each class will work on one element of the story (based on the Narrative Writing Diamond by Empowering Writers). Classes will share via the Google Doc component of Hangout & read together.

4. Poetry Author Study: Classes will find favorite Poets and share several poems with the other classes. Classes will collaborate and try to create a poem based on their favorite author's style. (Some authors: Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, Jane Yolen, Ken Nesbitt and more. (Poem below was written in a Jack Prelutsky style).

5. Gather Data: Classes Poll each other, create graphs and gather back on the Hangout to analyze the data. Classes can poll their school and share that information. Other classes can draw conclusions based on the data.

6: Math Mysteries: Participating classes will be introduced to a Math Mystery via the Hangout. They will work on the problem separately, then return do share their answers and to show their thinking.

7. Conduct Experiments: Experiment will be introduced via the Hangout. Each class will be assigned a different variable. Classes will predict what will happen in ALL classes based on the variables. Reconvene on the Hangout to share and discuss the results.

8. Science Share: Using a current event site like Science News for Kids classes can each read and share an article - then discuss. Or classes can share science experiments done in their own classrooms.

Social Studies:
9. Regional Conference: connect with other classes from states in your own region. Compare and contrast data relating to climate, resources, industry, major cities and more.

10. Map-Making: Each class would be assigned a different type of map: Political, Relief, Climate, Population, Road, Resources or other, for a particular state or region. All maps will then be shared and discussed.

As stated in the beginning, I'm no expert. However, these are some activities that I would conduct in my own classroom. Why not flatten those classroom walls and share the experiences, learn others' point of view and Hangout with some new friends via Google+.

I would like to thank the following collaborators for creating and sharing ideas:

Other Resources:
Google+ Hangouts in the Gifted Ed Classroom by: @elle_gifted:
Google Hangout Page by: @cybraryman1

Please share how you might use or will be using Google+ Hangout in your classroom or what you think of the suggested ideas in the comment section below!


  1. Nice post, Nancy. I have used Google Hangout mostly to collaborate with other educators, but one day in the classroom Skype was not cooperating to we switched to a hangout. It worked beautifully! I love all of your suggestions - especially reader's theater. Last year my students shared a few of their reader's theater scripts via skype, but with one class at a time. Google Hangout will allow us to reach up to 10 classrooms at a time! Google Hangout has endless possibilities in the classroom!

  2. Here' s one we did. My students coproduced videos with kids from other country. At the end, we made this "party" in which I played the vids and shared the screen with our classmates from US and watched them all together and made comments about them. It was so much fun that students would not want to go out. It was a nearly two-hour session! G+Hangouts are that stable!

  3. I left you a blog award on my blog. Check it out at

  4. @Louise - Thank you for sharing your 'real world' experience with Google+ Hangout. I know students are excited whenever they are doing a play. Their excitement must be twofold when knowing they will be performing for several classes beyond their walls (at the same time no less). I also think it was great that you had a "Plan B" when Skype didn't work. It's important that we keep the learning going when things don't go as planned.
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love learning from you!

    @ Jose - Thank you for sharing your 'real world' experience too! I think the screen sharing feature is so cool. Imagine being able to share and comment on various documents/photos/videos/other files on your computer. Again, this scaffolds the learning call. Please feel free to stop by again and share your other successes.

    @Michelle - I am touched, honored and humbled that you would pass along a blogging award to me. I will certainly check it out.

    Thank you all for commenting.

  5. Hi Nancy,

    Fabulous list of ideas for using G+ Hangouts in education! This would be a great tool for so many collaborative projects. It reminded me of the ISTE presentation/post by Linda Yollis and Kathleen Morris about global projects. It would be great for quad blogging too!

    Kind regards,

  6. Thanks again, Nancy!

  7. Excellent post, Nancy! You have inspired me to try it out with my tweeps and my gifted class. Thanks for sharing your creative ideas.

  8. I really enjoy using Google Hangouts with my adult ESL students to practice conversation. My students tell me they love it too.

  9. @Tracy - There are so many possibilities. As more and more people are exploring the idea of using GHO, more collaboration is taking place. It's so much fun!

    @Elvira - If you ever want to have your students "Hang Out" to complete a project together - don't hesitate to ask!

    @John - I love that you are using this with your adult ESL students. What a practical and engaging way for them to learn! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I have tentatively enabled G+ for our school's Google Apps service. I say "tentatively", as most of me is quite excited about using it with my students. I've been looking forward to having it available. A small part of me sees the part about Google not intending it to be used with students under 13 (I teach grade five), and wonders if there is really any problem with extending the service to them, given that, as the admin, I can nuke their accounts for misuse if need be. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Chris,
      Our district does not have the Google Apps service. So when we have used Google+ Hangouts it has been in a controlled environment in the classroom. It is something that I initiate with other teachers. I understand your concern about students using the GHO via Google Apps since there may not be a way for you to know if students are using it for things other than school sanctioned projects.

      Part of me thinks you should go ahead - at least you would be teaching them proper online behavior. Another part of me thinks you just need that ONE kiddo to be savvy enough not to follow the rules to spoil it for others.

      Would be interested in hearing how it works out for you.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Good luck!

  11. Nancy, I am teaching about Google Hangouts at a technology conference. I love your blog on this topic. Is it okay if I link this blog to my slideshow presentation that I am using at the conference?


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