Assess: Google+ Hangouts

Mobile Collaboration OER

Google+ Hangouts

Live URLwww.google.com/hangouts
Platform: IPAD, Android, Apple compatible tablets and phones
Cost: Free
Overview

Google Hangouts is a collaborative real-time communication platform that allows for both synchronous and asynchronous contact. The two main forms of communication include video and text communication; however, users may use emotion-cons as well. The platform is available on Android phones, and all Apple products and the video and text may be used at the same time.

Pros & Cons

Pros: Individuals are allowed to engage in group conversations even when they are not connected in the forum. In addition, the application works and permits users to share photos, and see when your friends are typing while engaged in a video conversation. You may also scroll back to previous Hangouts to see what your friends are saying. Some of the other pros include starting up video conversations and phone conversations from the computer, as well as the ability to conference call. The platform is interconnected with other Google products, such as Gmail, and as a result can engage in calls while checking your email, etc. If you want to go live from your laptop, you have the option of going live in front of a global audience, record the taping and share the video via YouTube. There are several interesting collaborative aspects to this.

Cons: Some of the cons of the Google Hangouts includes 1) having to invite the user into the conversation. This may pose a problem especially if the user does not want to create a Google account. In addition, once a Google account is created, the user information will spread across the Google channels and be seen by others. 2) Reporting and blocking users. You may report users but you cannot kick users out of the conversation. 3) Limited connectivity and poor video quality on some computers. The platform is still somewhat archaic in that it is slow with video connection, and even if you have a fast computer, it seems to lag depending on time zones and distances of users.

Collaboration

The platform permits multi-use collaboration which includes video and text-messaging. Picture messaging and emoticons are also used.

How You Would Use Google Hangouts

You can use Google Hangouts in different ways but mainly for video conferencing. The Hangouts allow users to congregate in an area, and then set up conference calling in real-time, text-messaging as well asynchronously when needed and joining multiple conference calls when needed with different groups set up.

For further info, check out the UBC Wiki page: UBCGoogleDriveApps510

Next steps:

1. Fill out the survey in the toggle below:

SECTIONS-based Assessment Tool

2. Comment about how/why you would (or would not) use this app.

Commenting Suggestion: Before posting your comments, it might be interesting to compare your SECTIONS-based assessment to previous assessments. This can be done by completing the 4 item survey in the toggle above and using the Google link called “See previous responses”.
3. Check the SECTIONS-based Assessment Results (as of end of W05)

googlehangoutsresults1

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18 Comments

  1. awhetter

    This term is the first that I’ve used Google Hangouts – for MET group projects in the past I’ve used Skype. From my limited experience, Google Hangouts was simpler to use and worked very well.

    Reply
  2. S Turner

    I find Google Hangouts a great tool for group collaboration. With integration into the google suite (drive…) it makes an easy to use tool.

    Reply
  3. cwc1

    I love Google Hangouts – as others have mentioned, it (along with Google Docs) has probably been the most invaluable piece of technology I’ve used in the MET program. I’ve also used it with some students in the past who were not able to attend examinations (online proctoring).

    Reply
  4. Rodney St-Pierre

    Like several others here, I have had difficulty navigating the interface at times and starting a Hangout. Google should look at revamping it to make it more user friendly. This is an invaluable app – many collaborations within the MET might not have been possible without Hangouts.

    Reply
  5. jenh

    I find Google Hangouts an invaluable tool in my MET education to collaborate across the globe. I haven’t used it in any other context. For me, it’s an easy way to video conference with a lot of useful extras-like screen sharing and annotating. However, I’ve yet to have a Hangout go completely smoothly. Most often, the connection speed isn’t quick enough and everyone has to turn off their cameras, especially on calls with 3+ people. For some reason, I also find it difficult to start a Hangout…every time I do it, it’s like I’m figuring it out for the first time. Despite these hiccups, I love this tool.

    Reply
  6. Leahbio

    I LOVE Google hangouts! Its the one forum that I’ve enjoyed most during the MET program, working collaboratively with each team group and actually seeing, hearing and interacting together at the same time nationally or globally. I do really enjoy being able to collaborative within Google documents and discuss our thoughts and ideas though the hangout. I do agree with the privacy concerns though. I generally have only used this forum for school as a result.

    Reply
  7. Lane Hardy

    I am more of a fan of Google products since beginning this MET program. I’m quite impressed on how they have kept the spirit of collaboration alive in every application they have created. I agree with your cons section completely. I also find that the Google platform (especially with G+) is not as intuitive as other platforms such as Facebook. I believe that this is more about “being different” than how easy it is for the consumer to navigate.

    Reply
  8. Megan Dodsworth

    My experience with Google+ Hangouts is mostly within the MET program, to collaborate and create group projects with other educators from around the globe. Love the feature of being able to have multiple people in one conversation, as well as the ability for all to view & edit google docs while “hanging out”. I agree that having to individually invite each user into a the hangout everything you want to have a conversation is a bit of a pain.

    Reply
    • Rhena

      Hi Megan, I have also had positive experiences being able to collaborate globally throughout the MET programme using Google Hangouts and the other Google Apps. For me, these apps have changed the possibilities for collaboration. Some of the articles we reviewed in the literature talk about global collaboration being one of the most significant affordances of mLearning. So much valuable learning happens when people are able to bring multiple cultural perspectives to a project. There is much potential in education for mobile collaboration and platforms like Google Hangouts make the experience much more personal.

      Reply
  9. Chris Sandor

    I like the idea of Google + Hangouts but I have found it generally unreliable and have often defaulted to using googledocs instead. I would think this would be difficult to use for education for these reasons alone.

    Reply
  10. Steve Holmberg

    I like Google Hangouts but I have had issues with video lag etc. I lIke the “Google Universe” and the integration of their apps is quite amazing. However, I do agree with others that they way the handle privacy is not advantageous for the user. I’ve posted stuff on one Google app and then discover that it has automatically appeared on other apps. . . . not good 🙁

    Reply
  11. Eva Perez

    I used Google+ Hangouts last year with another teacher in a different school. Our students were doing an inquiry project and had different presenters come and share with them. These students were then able to share with the other students in a different class. It was really cool and the kids were very engaged. We (teachers) used our accounts which made it easy but I can see it becoming complex if each needs his/her own account, especially at the primary level. We had some difficulty connecting as well which made it difficult in the classroom setting. Overall, I like the opportunity for learners/people to video conference through Google.

    Reply
    • Rhena

      Hi Eva,
      This sounds like very collaborative use of Google Hangouts. I have started using Google apps more often with my class, so I created a class google account. It’s a bit better not having to worry about my own Google account information showing up across all the Google apps, especially if you start to email parents or share your account information with students. I preferred collaborating to make this OER using Google Hangouts. Talking to the other group members in person was much nicer and Google Hangouts has some great features that Skype doesn’t, such as being able to share your screen, video for all participants, and wearing funny hats. 🙂

      Reply
  12. etower

    The privacy issues are a concern. While the “one stop shopping” of Google+ is convenient, it can be a lot of exposure for some. A lot of the schools I’ve talked to teachers have a special “teacher account” they set up and the class attends video conferencing together using that one account. I also find it less intuitive to navigate than other platforms and it can be frustrating when you share a gmail account with a spouse for example. You end up having to create different purpose accounts to manage your own privacy settings which defeats the one stop shop aspect. I am working on a project at work right now that may use Google Hangouts as a conference call platform for live video tours of our museum. Some schools love it while others aren’t even allowed to use it.

    Reply
    • Farooq

      To get around the privacy issue we assigned a school specific email to each student using Google Apps for Education. That way we could control what students had access to along with having them sign online behaviour contracts.

      Reply
      • Chris Sandor

        My school district has given students Google Apps for Education (GAFE) accounts and have had parents sign waivers to deal with some of the privacy issues. It is interesting to look at privacy as the GAFE accounts means google will not mine these accounts for data, no advertising and while the servers reside outside of Canada for anyone to access any information from these accounts they need to go through due process. Regular gmail accounts do not have these protocols…

        Reply
      • aisaac

        My school did the same and assigned school gmail accounts, which could only be accessed by the students’ teachers and Administrators.

        Reply
  13. rhena

    Google+ Hangouts is appropriate in higher education and especially distance education. Students benefit from developing transferable collaboration skills using an authentic platform. As mentioned in the Pros & Cons section above, users are required to have a Google account to sign-in, adding potential problems and organization issues. Personally, I have had some difficulty navigating how to begin a hangout and add people easily to the conversation. There could also be some privacy issues as once you have a Hangout with someone, you often see their posts and photos in other Google spaces, which might make some people uncomfortable.

    Reply

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