Teaching & Learning with GOOGLE COMMUNITIES PART 1: A #Google EduonAir Reflection and More

Monday, May 11, 20159:24 PM

I am excited to be writing tonight! For the past week, my head has been spinning with new ideas for blog posts--I've felt inspired to share and feel compelled to write all of a sudden. I even made a title graphic, so you know I'm feeling good about it. 

My inspiration comes from a lot of places, but most of all it's from my #PLN and from the connections I've made in my learning. I was honored to be among the presenters for #GoogleEduonAir this weekend and had no idea what to expect. At the least, I figured I would present my usual Google Communities presentation, and with Dani moderating, we would at least have fun. I was excited to get three viewers at first. Then, rather quickly, the number rose. I was distracted, switching from screen sharing to presenting to talking to Dani. Soon we were at over 100. Then over 200. The high point was around 230 viewers from what I noticed, and our audience was engaged on Twitter and the Q&A. I finished the presentation and had dozens of mentions, new followers, and Tweets to follow up on.

#GoogleEduonAir humbled me. The fact that a few hundred people spent their Saturday morning listening to me talk blew me away, and the Twitter support for my presentation and ideas astounded me. The love and support of an audience and an interest in the successes I've had with my students is truly an inspiring thing. On Saturday night, I edited the video, cutting out the pre-show, and set it off into the world with a Tweet. As of right now, there are almost 600 replays. Wow. This is awesome.

#GoogleEduonAir was a fantastic event and I am proud to have been a part of it. Towards the end of my presentation, Dani suggested I start blogging about my use of Google Communities to build community and engage students in my classes. Throughout my personal learning, research, and conferences, I've realized that many school don't use Communities with their students. Most, in my experience, close Google+ to students and sometimes teachers. Some don't understand it's value or power. Others equate it with Classroom and ignore it. Some others are simply afraid of opening students up to the outside world.

Over the next week or two, and probably after that, I plan to write a series of posts detailing my work with Google Communities. Here are some of the topics I plan to write about:
  • How Google Communities transformed learning in my classroom
  • My best practices for using Communities
  • What students think about learning with Communities
  • Purposes and models--when and how I use them
  • Why aren't more school embracing the power of Communities
I'd love some suggestions if any readers are interested in the topic, have questions, or have experiences to share.

UPDATE: Dani just wrote her very first blog post over at PancakePD about the experience. Check it out!

If you were not among the live viewers or replayers on Saturday, my GHOA and Slides presentation can be found below. I'd love to continue the conversation. 

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