Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Google+ can help to enhance student learning in and out of the classroom?

Google+:  Prospective Role in Study and Teaching 

Google+ is the latest buzz in the world of social networking and the features provided by Google+ can easily challenge the supremacy of social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter. Google+ features like ‘Circle’ and ‘Hangout’ can make a big difference and might be used to enhance student learning in and out of the classroom.

Google's earlier shots at social networking, Google Buzz and Google Wave, didn’t succeed to feel the presence. Facebook and Twitter have, so far, dominated the field of social networking on the Internet.

However, with Google+ search giant came with the idea to exploit the weaknesses of its prospective competitors and thus manages to overcome one of the weaknesses of Facebook and Twitter; managing different groups with the same platform. This advantageous feature of Google+ let some professors thinking about how they might be able to use Google+ to better connect with their students.

If Twitter users want to manage different types of messages for different followers, such as personal versus work related messages, they would need to create separate accounts. To switch from one account to another, Twitter users would need a third-party app, or would need to log out and back in. Facebook allows users to create different groups and post messages to specific groups, but the process is clumsy and difficult to learn.

In Google+, creating different groups, called “circles,” is a central feature of the platform. Additionally, people in a circle are able to enter a video chat, called “Hangout,” with up to ten users at a time. (Facebook recently announced that it will add a video chat feature.) A professor, then, could easily create a circle for each class, or break up classes into study groups, each with their own circle. The study groups could meet in an online video conference, and the professor could be available for online office hours.

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