I think I have mentioned in one or two posts google+ hangouts, but I decided to go back and talk about the many possibilities of it again. I think the idea of using google+ hangouts is a great way to get kids to collaborate, to get other schools to meet up with students and share similar ideas, learn new cultures or learn new things.
I tried to use hangouts last year in my French 2 class, I tried to have the kids use it together to insert things, watch videos together, etc. For some reason, the bandwidth didn't work well with the same room streaming all at once, so I had to stop. I think, however, if I were to try it again, I would do a few things differently. First of all, I would find a school in France, Quebec or somewhere Francophone, invite them to join us. I would include some different things we could talk about. (There are a lot of stereotypical videos out there about the Francophones and the Americans, why not watch them via hangouts and do a discussion about them with other nations?)
In a Social Studies class, why not find a veteran or someone who works in government and invite them to a hangout. Use it as a question/ answer session with someone to learn more about their job, their experience or their story.
Hangouts can be used to collaborate with classrooms in different places too, like sister cities. What a great way to learn about a different place. Students could ask questions, see videos and images.
Hangouts does a lot like Skype, but, it allows for more interaction. The collaboration comes in the ability to type, insert, embed and talk. It is more intense and open. There is more interaction with each other.
Hangouts has to be downloaded for an android or a IOS device, if you use chrome, it adds an extension. I can't wait to try it out!