Google Hangouts in Class

Just before the Christmas break I learned that Google Hangouts is now part of the Google Apps For Education (GAFE) app suite.  This means that the Hangouts can be used within the GAFE environment only without the students being able to access the outside world. I am excited about this because this gives me the chance to try something that I have wanted to do since we began using the GAFEs. 

I want to try using the hangouts as a way for kids to participate in a discussion within a class by using their iPads.  I am hoping that this allows students who would normally not participate in class discussions because they are uncomfortable speaking in front of their classmates to begin to participate. 

I would also like to try arranging a discussion to happen while the EAL students are with their EAL teachers so that they could participate with the help of their teacher.  The EAL teachers could help them with the typing and spelling so that they are more comfortable with what they produce.  It will also give the EAL teachers a chance to explain things as they come up in the conversation that the EAL students may have otherwise missed. 

Once students get the hang of this type of discussion it would also allow for multiple discussion to happen at the same time. (I can see the chaos that this might cause!!!!)

Once a class and a teacher are in the habit of using this as part of their verbal and written discussions in class, then if a student were home sick or traveling they would be able to participate in them as well.  This would be great for snow days or “volcano” days, like what happened to me when I was stranded in Thailand when the Icelandic volcano stopped all air traffic to Europe, in the middle of Exhibition!