Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Google Hangouts/Video Calls

So this happened.

My Spanish 3 class (I am having severe guilt over my Spanish 2 classes and my Frenchies, because all the good stuff seems to trace back to my Spanish 3 classes!) did a Google Video call with Venezuelan "artivist" Daniel Arzola. Wow. The story behind our serendipitous connection is pretty fantastic (one well-placed, well-timed #jealous on a FB post) but Daniel's story of how he has turned his trials into meaningful art and social justice is unbelievable. And my students were able to read about his story, analyze one of his poems, as well as some of his artwork, and pose questions to him in Spanish in real time.

As with all Google Apps, Google Video Calls and GHO (now connected with YouTube Live) the whole experience was free! (You know how important that is to me!) If you have a Gmail, you have access to all of the things I just mentioned. Did I mention free?

Here's how a Google Video call works:
  • Log in to Google
  • go to your "dot grid" in the upper right hand corner next to your picture
  • Click "more"
  • Click on the green "Hangouts" icon
  • Click the "video call" button
  • When the new window opens, you may either invite someone by name, by email, or copy & share the link
That's it!  That's all! It's just that easy.

Google Hangouts on Air, now connected to YouTube Live are somewhat more complicated, but allow for features like screensharing, muting participants, etc.

Here are the steps provided by Google.

Here is a video tutorial by Rachel Pierson (STEM teacher in Minnesota) and Justin Schleider. (PE/Health teacher in New Jersey).

I have not yet done too many of these with my students, but I am hooked! Not surprisingly, the greatest challenge is making the connections...but that's a project in progress...(stay tuned!)

Here are some ideas for when you connect:
  • Mystery Hangout (also known as Mystery Skype)
  • Connect with experts in a particular field - have students prepare questions
  • Connect with an artist/author/activist - have students prepare questions
  • Play Simon Says in the TL with other WL classes, or classes in the Target Culture -  take turns leading and following
  • Ask your students for ideas!
The possibilities are mind-boggling, so if you have a possible connection, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??

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