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Monday, November 7, 2011

Education: Open for Business 24/7? #change11

I previously posted on Google+ and education here. I just came across this article by Ryan Tyler at betanews about the benefits Google+ has in store for educators. I think he makes a lot of sense, especially when writing about the potential uses for "Hangouts":
One other feature of Google+ that makes it a truly "killer app" for education is Hangouts. With a webcam and mic enabled computer or phone/tablet with a front facing camera, you can have a real time, online meeting with up to 10 simultaneous video streams. Google recently added Google docs integration and screen share, making it even more compelling. Now a group of students, or a teacher with some students, can meet, "face to face" and edit one document in real time, with side-chat functionality as well.
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The use of hangouts for education is significant. Small group ad hoc meetings between students from anywhere at anytime. Study groups accessed from the palm of your hand. A teacher that can join a group at anytime to give feedback and answer questions. The list goes on.
This could provide more flexibility and excitement for group projects and conferences for traditional and distance learners.

As I see it, here is the biggest drawback: As we blur the boundaries between the classroom and the world outside, we put a tremendous amount of pressure on educators to be online and ready for requests from students at all hours. Most educators, of course, don't view their profession as a 9-to-5 job. It's more like a calling. It's not just something you do; it's who you are.

Nonetheless, we still need healthy boundaries. How can we make sure efforts to integrate education and social media don't eliminate those few extra hours we have?

We know that many facets of the Wal-Mart are being applied to everything these days, including education. Do teachers really want to be open for business around the clock?

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