Intrigued but still a bit distant — I am wandering in a bit to G+ just to see what is going on.
I tried to screen capture a Hangout — unsuccessfully and I admit, I feel that G+ is still twitter with just a new address and more space to talk. But also admit, this is a learning curve and I can be a creature of habit.
But what I am LIKING are circles.
So, if you are not using G+ — here is a short explanation.
Circles equal conversation opportunities.
Meaning: when you type a comment, you can then choose WHICH circle (or circles) you wish to share that comment with. ALSO: you can click on a circle and see the conversations happening just from those people within the circle.
Right now — I have 11 circles. Some circles are conference based (current conferences with people in attendance — ie BLC and Microsoft right now). This way, I can easily follow the conversations by people attending that conference. I also have circles that are state specific….(IL/WI, Texas, CA) which I check often to see what friends are up to.
When you first start with G+ there is an ALL or EVERYONE circle — and at first, I was dropping everyone there. But it became overwhelming and a constant stream of conversation — so I deleted the EVERYONE circle and started smaller circles so I could (in a way) control content.
I began by creating an EDUCATORS circle — but again, I placed way too many people in this circle — and needed to small down even more to be able to sift through content and not miss a lot because the stream was so busy.
So — I have 2 circles for educators.
One is my LIGHTHOUSE circle. This consists of a small group of educators who “enlighten” me. They are trusted individuals to me. Most of them I have met F2F. In a way, they are family to me.
The other is my PATHWAY group. Each person in this group is also on this journey we call education. This is my biggest circle and is my default for most conversations. People in my PATHWAY group also overlap into other circles (such as State, Conference, etc) So when I wish to blast a conversation to all — I choose the PATHWAY group.
The ability to have open or selected conversations has been interesting to watch and learn from.
One other nice feature of Circles is the fact that when you open a HANGOUT (meaning a video/microphoned conversation) you can invite the circle (or circles) you wish to join in.
This is still a work in progress as I am learning slowly about G+.
One other “aha” idea was to have a whiteboard behind you in a hangout to use for instruction.
But to be honest right now — I am not looking at G+ in regards to students. First of all, I have not even glanced at TOS yet and secondly I would turn to skype first before hangouts with students.
I am 100% trying to figure out G+ for myself and learning new things each day.
And finding circles to be both interesting and powerful.
Feel free to share more about G+ if you wish.