Google Plus — Google’s social media network — is a great resource for educators. The resources and dialogue there are great, and it can be set up and running in a snap.
I think it doesn’t always get a fair shake, though. Take the “Social Media Explained” by way of bacon example (via the Corey Smith blog).
It explains the idea behind several social media sites with bacon (see graphic).
- Twitter: I’m eating bacon.
- LinkedIn: I have skills including eating bacon.
- Instagram: Here’s a vintage photo of my bacon.
But when it comes to Google Plus: “I work for Google and eat bacon.”
Google has been written off as a failure, but all you have to do is look at the powerful ways educators are using it to see its potential.
It’s a great place for dialogue (instead of 140-character snippets).
The design encourages more in-depth reading, digesting and collaborating about its content.
And communities are a great place to find resources and connect with a huge group of like-minded people.
If you’re just getting started with Google Plus — or if you’ve been there for a while — here are some great communities to consider joining (with membership numbers as of publication of this post). Click the title to visit and join them.
1. Education Revolution (75,192 members)
About: The Google+ extension of Learning Revolution encourages its members to “think about how and why teaching and learning are redefined in the age of the Internet.”
Topics: pedagogy, social learning, self-directed learning and cognitive science.
2. Google Apps for Education (36,162 members) and Google Apps in Education (45,546 members)
About: If you use or have interest in Google Apps in the classroom, this is a great place to find how-to’s and creative uses as well as ask questions.
Topics: going Google (Edu), administration, devices, Google Drive/Docs/Forms/Presentations.
3. Technology in Education (13,436 members)
About: This lively, active group provides a “home for discussion, collaboration and sharing of resources on Technology in Education.”
Topics: social media, mobile learning, gaming, tablets.
4. EdTech (19,848 members)
About: Technology is all over education, and this community provides an open forum for general discussion about any facet of educational technology.
Topics: new tech, apps/software/etc., distance learning.
5. Communities about your content area/specialization
About: If it exists in education and people have things to say about it, a Google Plus community about it probably exists. Searching for one may be your best find on this list. If it doesn’t exist yet, create it!
Topics: useful information based on what you do
6. Communities related to your physical location
About: It’s always refreshing and relevant to find fellow educators near your geographical location. They often understand who you are and what you do the best. Again, find one or create one!
Topics: information and resources that pertain to where you are
7. Education (6,307 members)
About: This general education community reaches teachers, students and parents about issues related to education.
Topics: success stories, philosophy/pedagogy, educational reform, virtual learning
8. Gamification in Education (3,238 members)
About: Bringing the concept of play and competition into the classroom can be powerful. This community explores and shares “gamification principles, examples, and strategies for game mechanics used in educational settings.”
Topics: examples, principles, strategies, events
9. National Geographic Education (2,016 members)
About: National Geographic posts useful resources (and their stunning photos) to this community, and educators can contribute resources and stories as well.
Topics: opportunities for teachers/students, teaching resources, activities for the classroom
About: This newly-created community (created the day this post was published!) is a great place to follow Ditch That Textbook posts and to discuss ways to teach with less reliance on the textbook. You can be one of its charter members!
Topics: resources, educational technology, creative teaching ideas
What other communities are out there to support educators? What would you like to get out of a Google Plus community? Share your ideas in a comment!
- PowerED Up (June 2-3, Perry Central Jr/Sr High School, Leopold, Ind.)
- Tippecanoe School Corp. technology integration workshop (June 3-4, Tippecanoe County, Ind.)
- Infinite iPossibilities Conference (June 10, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, Ind.)
- YCS WeLearn Conference (June 12, Yorktown High School, Yorktown, Ind.)
- Knight Time Technology (June 13, East Noble High School, Kendallville, Ind.)
- Making Waves with eLearning (June 17-18, West Lafayette High School, West Lafayette, Ind.)
- Conference on a Couch (June 20, Danville Community High School, Danville, Ind.)
- Digipalooza (June 24-25, Scottsburg Middle School, Scottsburg, Ind.)
- trAnSfoRM (June 25-26, South Vermillion High School, Clinton, Ind.)
- C4: Connect, Collect, Collaborate, Create (July 8, Clay Middle School, Carmel, Ind.)
- Greater Clark Connected Conference (July 21, Jeffersonville High School, Jeffersonville, Ind.)
- eLightenment (Aug. 5-6, Chesterton High School, Chesterton, Ind.)
Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!