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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
About: This general education community reaches teachers, students and parents about issues related to education.
Topics: success stories, philosophy/pedagogy, educational reform, virtual learning
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
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!
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