Utilizing Google Hangouts

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Last week, we were on a live Google Hangout with Susan Bearden, IT Director and influential educational technology figure, speaking from Melbourne, Florida. Aside from slightly warmer weather outside of her door, we shared the same space and had a productive discussion. We spoke with Susan about her new-age technology app, TweechMe, that facilitates the use of Twitter for educators. She highlighted that this app was a product of ideas started by projects exploredGoogle Hangouts with fifth grade students. Susan gave us valuable information about application creation that applies directly to a project we have undertaken in Help Desk, called “Shark Tank: Tech Edition.”

This project requires us to create an educational technology product to present to “investors.” Susan talked to us about the app development process, as well as her mental progression to turn this idea into a reality. She mentioned that her technology education product (TweechMe) sprouted from a need, and that it would not have become a reality if teachers did not need assistance with harnessing Twitter’s educational powers. Additionally, Susan spoke about her partnership with Crescerance, an app development company, that, she mentioned, was extremely useful in her creation. The advice given to us by Susan was relevant and useful.

As far as preparation goes, we spent a considerable amount of time before the Hangout gathering information  on our guest speaker and formulating questions that we might want to ask as well as those that we figured our classmates would like to ask if given the opportunity. Once again, Google came to the rescue as we were able to collaborate from our respective homes using Google Drive, on which we compiled a hefty list of questions and research. Of course, as with any interview/discussion, a bit of on-the-spot thinking was required when it came to follow-up questions and such. This was the case in this Hangout especially, as we experienced some technical difficulties near the end of the interview and elected to end the Hangout with a small recap/reflection of what we had learned from Susan before the connection was lost. Preparation is always necessary, but there are times when even the best preparation is futile if an individual cannot think on his feet.

Overall, Google Hangouts not only facilitated the creative process, but made the exchange of ideas entirely possible. Google Hangouts is extremely useful in education, and we experienced this firsthand. (Below, you will find a video recording of our Google Hangout with Susan Bearden.)

By Michael Seleman & TJ Horgan

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