by Jean Tower

Have you been getting into the Google + sandbox and playing around? Trying to figure out where it fits, and maybe how it might be helpful in education? Me, too. Along with plenty of others – I have read estimates that Google+ users already number 2 to 4 million!


Luckily, some of those front-runners did some research for the rest of us.

Here are a few resources, ideas, and thoughts from others that might help us both gain some perspective, as well as some tips and tricks.

Google+ contributor and Mac pioneer talks with CNET (Q&A)
Read this for some insights into the big picture of Google +.
Q: I’ll come back to Circles in a second, but can you just give me kind of a high-level view of what G+ is? What was the intent for Google+, and what are you hoping to do with it?
Hertzfeld: Sure. Everything on the Web can be improved by knowledge of your social connections, so Google+ is an effort to…add a social layer to Google, to YouTube, to Google Search, to every Google property. And so the core of Google+ are some APIs and applications that let you organize [and] maintain your identity through a profile and organize the people you know. Really, one of the main contributions we’re making compared to the status quo is giving you much finer grain control over your sharing. You know, instead of just having an undifferentiated mass of people, we make it really easy and at the forefront of the UI to send some things to some people, other things to others.

An Introduction to Google+
EdReach has a series of pretty good posts that explain what Google+ is, and how it might be used in education.
Here are the titles in the series:

An Intro to Google+
Circle Me Up: Exploring “circles”
Let’s Hangout: connecting through “hangouts”
Light the fire: learning through “sparks”
Going Mobile with Google+
Where can we go from here?

“For this second post, we wanted to give readers more of an insight and a “how to get started” look into Google+.  As you get in to Google+, we hope that you’ll find these walk through screencasts helpful.”

Google’s Six-Front War
“Google+ is their social sword and shield to fight back and capture user data, despite it being late in the game.”

Google+ – A Collaborative Document
This is a collaborative document in Google docs. Full of great tips.
“Circles – Enable you to organize contacts into groups for sharing across various Google products and services. Although other users can view the list of people in your collection of circles, they cannot view the names of those circles. Organization is done through a drag-and-drop interface.

To understand Google Plus and Circles better, go to the Settings Gear and select Profile and Privacy. Look for “See how your profile looks to other users.” Type in a user name from different circles and click Preview to see what your profile looks like from the specified user.”

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Google+
Here you will find links to lots of other articles.

Google + Tips and Shortcuts
This is a collection of tips on how to use the various apps included in Google+.
“Share G+ posts on Twitter and translate them with Google Translate. Nice.”

The Google + 50 by Chris Brogan
“A standalone Google+ Apps version plus Google Docs = a very powerful business collaboration environment that would trump most white label social enterprise tech easily.”

Simon Laustsen’s Google+ Cheat Sheet
Full of nice shortcuts.

40 Google Plus Tips for Newbies
Circles – When adding friend you’ll be able to specify a circle to put them in. When doing so there is also an option to create a new circle when adding a friend. Circles are used to organize friends. Many ways to think of these circles. Based on affinity, like work, church, family, and extended family. Or you could go a little more military as De Niro and Stiller’s in “Meet the Parents”. Either way, circles make it pretty easy to put friends in order fast in Google Plus.

What does Google+ Mean for Schools?
“Instead of only holding class in school, teachers will be able to teach their students online (ten at a time) through Hangouts.  They could teach new material, review information from class, share videos, answer questions, and more, all in a virtual class meeting.”

Let me know if you have resources to share – leave a comment with the link.

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