Hi fellow Moderators and especially any TEACHERS
Im sure there must be plenty of teacher using g+communities and I would really like to hear your stories, how you use g+c’s , how it works for you
Here is a little of my story so far
As a tertiary teacher and due to a lack of social interaction and engagement with online students through the official LMS, I started experimenting with a Facebook group in 2008. The advantages were numerous but I became increasingly aware of the flaws with so many privacy issues,trashy ads, games, distractions, time wasting, and in your face trivial nonsense.
I have followed closely the g+c solution from 2012 and been very impressed at the functionality of it. Start of 2013 I had all students join a private g+c which in my institute I called a "Learners Community" (my own small pilot project). I added students in subject circles and year level circles (simply a brilliant innovation this feature alone).
Within the community I added a range of CATEGORIES which helped students quickly sort and filter exactly what they were looking for (concise and to the point contrasting to time wasting on fb)
I communicated freely through HANGOUTS with short PM's, group messages, video calls, and conferencing.
Most importantly however I used the EVENTS in the menu to create all subjects on offer (around 45 events/year) Students simply scroll through the g+c and check YES to the subjects/electives they are taking that year. From here they see the class members (other students faces and teacher) and can interact, collaborate and find that much needed social stimulus to engage with the online subject matter. On the right column there is the full subject outline and most importantly from the ‘Official Website' button they connect directly into the LMS subject where they access the learning resources and assessments.
It by no means replaces the LMS but to the contrary it supports and encourages students onto the LMS. Its a bit of a one-stop meeting place with no other distractions where students can mingle with each other and the teacher, before and after entering the ‘classroom’. Numerous other advantages keep arising that really assist students with organising their learning. Their google calendar is automatically populated with all events and any tasks they enter like due dates etc. If using Chrome bookmarks, passwords are all seamless. And it doesnt matter if a on PC or Macbook but the experience and functionality is enjoyable on a Chromebook.
Please share your stories, Im sure discussion could stimulate even better uses of g+ in teaching. It would be great if the Moderator here could create a category called TEACHING