© 2017 by James Kieft

Well after what seems to have been numerous stays of execution, Google has announced it is to close Google+ due to a security breach and limited user engagement.

 

I have found Google+ a very useful tool in growing my personal learning network and keeping up to date with developments in education technology as well as hearing about how fellow educators from around the globe are using edtech tools with their learners. Following there announcement I thought it was an appropriate time to share how its been used at college, and reflect on benefits.

 

We widely make use Google+  at the College where I work and found it a great way to introduce students to using social media in a professional capacity I especially like the community feature, in which you could set up an number of different discussion categories. It provided a safe private space for students to connect with peers and tutors and continue their learning conversations beyond the classroom, whilst developing their collaboration, communication and curation skills.

 

Some of the best examples of use I saw, was were it facilitated the co creation of the curriculum, with students sharing resources and information relevant to the the topic they were covering. Another example was the enabling employers to contribute student projects without the need to come on to site. It also was widely used by teams as way of enabling colleagues to share and discuss 

 

The ease which you could add a post,in the form of a image, a link or a poll,  just shone a light on how clunky VLE discussion forum are. Going forward I would be interested to hear what tools other use, to facilitate online group discussion and sharing, amongst students and colleagues. I have heard that those with access to Office 365, have been using Yammer in a similar way, I have recently been experimenting with Microsoft teams and certainly from a staff perspective I could see it being a useful tool to enable to teacher to connect and share across whilst be based at different campuses.

 

However it should not come as a surprise, as a reasonably regular user of Google+, even I had noticed there was less engagement with my posts,with me choosing to post to other social media networks instead. I would be interested to hear what others are using.