I was kindly invited to Google’s new social media Project Google+ by Kimberley Castleberry and Penny Bentley – both innovative individuals whose opinions I read with interest.
I’ve spent the first day of the school holidays exploring what the site has to offer and I thought I might put up my initial thoughts on how this Project may fit into the education sphere..
The Circles feature enables you to organise people into groupings based on interests. The up-side of this is that people can exist in multiple circles – meaning that in Education there can be class circles, staff circles, faculty circles – the list is endless.
This organisation structure is much more reflective of my real life social structures (as mentioned by many others), where you have the control to keep conversations and collaboration specific to the group that you want.
As mentioned by Tom Barrett here at the Ed.tech blog, one thing that struck me early on was the inability to create circles within circles. Although this may not be such an issue if I think about it longer – which I haven’t done yet! 🙂
I do like that the risks associated with ‘adding’ people have been much reduced. As a teacher that uses FB with my students, I am constantly concerned that students who add me are going through my profile (which I mitigate by having a ‘professional’ profile’). Google+ allows me to have students in circles and only share the information that I want with them. Just as importantly, the opposite is also true. Students may now feel empowered to get involved in class discussions via social media without fear that Mr Simpson is stalking through their weekend photos!
Google+ uses hashtags, allowing for the searching of comments (Twitter, hello?) which can be longer than 140 characters. The UI is easy – and familiar, and changeable! The ability to add photos and video is seamless and intuitive.
This could be the answer to safe, efficient and streamlined social media in education.