Google plus may be the next best thing on the internet. Hangouts is a key element to G+. A few months ago I wrote a blog post about Google Hangouts and it's possibilities in Education. Today Google Hangouts just got a lot better! On the Official Google Blog Google has announced improvement #'s 92-100 and I think the potential to use Google Hangouts in the classroom is only getting beter.
#92 - Hangout on a phone - Essentially this is video chat on your phone, nothing too revolutionary, except that it is built into Google+. The potential power of the network could be the key to education. Allow teachers to connect students via video chat to any number of resources for purposes such as research, mentoring, etc.
#93 - Hangouts on Air - Imagine taking Hangouts with up to 10 sources chatting at once and merging it with UStream. Google also announced that the new On Air service will have built in recording features. This meets almost every requirement that I could have as a teacher. Allowing my classes to bring in other classes from around the globe, with any number of guest speakers, recording it for later playback with other classes, and much more...it's just what this teacher ordered.
#94 - Screensharing - Tutoring, peer tutoring, community volunteer tutoring, sick or homebound students, presentations...
#95 - Sketchpad - Whiteboard mode, and all the examples from #94 apply here.
#96 - Google Docs - Oh heck yeah! (Google docs fan boy, Guilty)
#97 - Named Hangouts
#98 - Hangout APIs -
#99 - Google Search in plus
#100 - Now in Beta; No invitation required - After opening the closed trial in July this is big step forward. Now anyone can get into the network and start using this features. Sign up here: www.plus.google.com
After my first post months ago, I'm starting to think that someone at Google may actually be reading my blog. (Is that you Todd? :)
The main ingredient still missing is the Google Plus implementation into Google Apps. I've heard that this is in the works already, and when it comes, you can be sure that I'll be using it to push the envelope on what is possible in the classroom.