41 Ways to Hack Your Classroom With Google+

Posted on December 03, 2012

Google is such a great resource for classrooms, and with Google+, it seems that the possibilities are endless. There are just so many different ways to go bigger, better, and faster in your classroom with Google+! Check out our list to discover 41 ways you can hack your classroom with Google+, and share your ideas for Google+ classroom hacks in the comments.

  1. Targeted sharing in Circles:

    Add students, colleagues, even parents to Circles in Google+, and you can make sure that the right messages get to the right group of people.

  2. Circles of group projects:

    Google+ Circles make a great solution for temporary communication between group project members. Students can create circles for the projects, then easily communicate and share resources. When the project is done, the circle can be closed.

  3. News gathering through Sparks:

    One of the coolest Google+ features for educators is Sparks, which allows anyone to get a constant feed of targeted news and resources that can be shared with the class, colleagues, and more.

  4. Specialized student hangouts:

    Teachers can create Google+ Hangouts for students who are at different levels of education, offering one for those that need assistance, and another for more advanced students.

  5. Finding out what's nearby:

    Google+ for mobile offers plenty of learning opportunities, with a Near By View that highlights Learning Commons opportunities.

  6. Lesson plan sharing:

    Teachers can share lesson plans, photos, links, and videos with students, parents, and colleagues that are in the right Circles.

  7. Creating location-related homework:

    Want your students to head to the science museum? Require that they visit and post their location check in on Google+.

  8. Keeping classroom parents involved and informed:

    With a special Circle just for classroom parents, you can keep them in the loop without having to get up close and personal as a friend on Facebook.

  9. Special guest invitations:

    Bring experts from around the world into your classroom by inviting them into a Google+ Hangout.

  10. Set up collaborative calendars:

    Just about every classroom could benefit from a shared calendar, offering updates on assignments, events, and other important dates at school and beyond.

  11. Create collaborative documents, too:

    Google+ users can benefit from the ability to upload, edit, create, and share documents, and the service is a great place to host projects that require collaborative work.

  12. Bringing Google apps to one place:

    Google+ brings integration for all of the other Google apps, including Gmail, Picasa, and Google Docs, so the service is a great way to get everything all in one place.

  13. Tracking participation with +1:

    The Google+ +1 is such a simple thing to do that teachers can use it to track which students are reading posts. Some teachers require students to +1 each post so that they can keep track of who is engaging on Google+ and who isn't.

  14. Downloading data when class is over:

    Google+'s Data Liberation feature isn't talked about often, but it's perfect for students who want to retain what they've learned while still enjoying privacy. With this feature, users can download and remove all of the information from all or part of their account, so when class is over, they can gather all of their information and then leave the Circle.

  15. Exploring a culture:

    Google+ can be used to study a city or country based on what's available through the service. Students can find YouTube videos, updates on local events, and highlight important people in the area.

  16. Host remote classes:

    For students who just can't make it to the classroom, Google+ Hangouts can bridge the gap, allowing them to participate without actually being there.

  17. Hangout review sessions:

    Before a big test, teachers can host a review session through Google+ Hangouts to help students who want a little extra review before the big day.

  18. Creating Circles for a specific topic:

    In addition to following Sparks, students can create Circles that allow them to follow a specific topic, getting updates from key pages and users within their scope.

  19. Boosting personal and professional networks:

    Teachers can connect with other educators to find and share resources within their network.

  20. After-class discussions:

    Students can take classroom discussions online after class, either connecting through Circles or by starting a Hangout for classmates to join.

  21. Sharing favorites from Google Reader:

    Teachers can share awesome entries from Google Reader through Google+.

  22. Peer education groups:

    Establishing Google+ Hangouts as a great place to connect with students for homework and tutorials can help your classroom come together and enjoy collaborative learning.

  23. Virtual show and tell:

    It might not be a great idea for a student to bring their six-foot snake to the classroom (especially on the same day another student brings in a beloved bunny), but the class can certainly enjoy the opportunity to do show and tell remotely with Google+ Hangouts.

  24. Teaching abroad:

    Using Google+ Hangouts, your classroom can literally be anywhere. One teacher is using Hangouts to teach English to students in India.

  25. Establishing virtual office hours:

    Teachers can let students check in with them during virtual office hours, offering a useful resource without actually having to go to school.

  26. Sharing student performances:

    You can share classroom performances and presentations within the community, and especially with parents, by adding them to Google+ Circles.

  27. Instant homework uploading:

    Students can turn in their homework from anywhere using Google+'s instant upload feature.

  28. Instant updates for parents:

    Google+'s instant upload is also great for parents, making it easy for teachers to send updates to them right away.

  29. Retain connections with former students:

    Circles for former students make it easy to stay in touch.

  30. An alternative to staff meetings:

    For teachers on the go, lots of time can be saved by using Hangouts as virtual staff meetings.

  31. Homework help Hangouts:

    Students who need a little extra help can log in to Hangouts hosted regularly throughout the week.

  32. Historical role playing:

    Your classroom can create fictional accounts for people from history, sharing the updates and ideas that they think the historical figure might like to share.

  33. Sharing book club discussions:

    Classrooms can bring together book lovers in Google+ Hangout discussions that can be archived and shared with the rest of the class.

  34. Discussion archiving:

    Enjoyed a particularly useful Hangout chat that you'd like to share with the class? You can record your Google+ Hangouts to bring to the classroom.

  35. Parent-teacher conferences gone virtual:

    For parents who can't make it to school in person for face to face conferences, Google+ Hangouts offer an easy solution.

  36. Google+ writing prompts:

    As teachers share interesting links, photos, quotes, or prompts, students can write their responses as comments and reflect on what their peers have said.

  37. Live performance viewing:

    Students may not be able to go on a field trip to a performance, but with Google+ Hangouts, they can watch and participate.

  38. Hangout reader's theater:

    Join up with other classrooms in Hangouts, and together you can put on a dramatic reading of plays, complete with discussions.

  39. Constant contact with Huddle:

    Google+'s Huddle feature allows teachers to send out a text to everyone in a circle group, remind students about a class cancellation, gathering everyone after a field trip, or just wishing them a happy weekend.

  40. Following educational talks:

    Students can enjoy talks from around the world, like the Zoo Atlanta Google+ Hangout.

  41. Creating a paperless classroom:

    For teachers going green or just cutting down on clutter, Google+'s document sharing makes it possible for your classroom to go paperless.