A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the EdCamp Sonoma event organized by Matt O’Donnell, 21st Teaching and Learning Specialist at the Sonoma County Office of Education (@21CMatt). One of the highlights of the day was learning about Google Hangouts and Google Hangouts on Air. During one of the sessions, the EdCamp Sonoma group participated in a live GHOA with the EdCamp Leander group.
I also picked up some technical tips for using GHOA and for tapping into the power of this collaborative tool. While a built-in camera on any device can be used, during the session with the folks in Leander, Matt O’Donnell set up the Logitech 920 webcam to capture the whole room. This handy piece of equipment captures a larger group and includes a powerful mic to allow for voice communication.
Oh the possibilities! Here are a few just a few ways I think we might make use of GHOA to enhance our communication and collaboration within our district and beyond.
This year we have been experimenting with different online tools for improving parent engagement. We are constantly on the look out for ways of connecting with parents and our community. Seeing how well the GHOA worked in the EdCamp session showed me ways we can open up possibilities within our district. I decided to give it a try.
At the end of the school year, one of the schools in our district put on a student talent show. Our students demonstrated their leadership skills as they provided constructive feedback, organized the event, and introduced each performer. What an opportunity to showcase our students’ talents.
I tried out the technical set-up I learned about at the EdCamp. I set up a simple tripod and the webcam and set up a GHOA. Of course, as with any new venture into the digital realm, I ran into some technical difficulties (an opportunity to learn and practice digital resilence!). With a few adjustments, I was able stream a portion of the event for parents and community members who could not attend. We plan to refine our technique and provide more opportunities to open our doors, connect with our community and showcase the powerful learning taking place in our schools.
During the session, one of the participants also shared a useful resource on using Google Hangouts for professional learning and collaboration compiled by Matt Gomez, Kindergarten teacher and @EdCampDallas founder, Google Hangout Resources for Teachers.
This resource inspired me to think about how we can use Google Hangouts for teachers within our district to collaborate with colleagues and provide our students with many learning opportunities beyond our walls. Next year, we plan to more fully explore how we can expand our learning network using GHO and GHOA.
I’d love to hear how other educators are using Google Hangouts to open up the world of learning and connection for students, parents and staff.