Last night I experienced my very first ‘Public Google+ Hangout.’ This is what I learned from the experience:
How NOT to teach with Google+ Hangouts
- Go Public. For the first ten or so minutes, I was alone in my Hangout. Then, one after another, people started arriving. At first, I was excited. People were coming! Then I quickly started to feel overwhelmed. In total, 38 people came and went during the session. That was too many. (For me.)
- Don’t Set Rules. I didn’t set any ‘group’ guidelines. (I wasn’t expecting to need them!) People were talking at the same time, some were singing, some were messing around, and some weren’t talking at all.
- Don’t Plan. I did have a plan, but due to the large number of people in the Hangout, it quickly got lost.
- Don’t teach about muting, or other buttons. I assumed everyone participating would know how Google+ Hangouts work, so I didn’t bother to teach the tool. (How to activate the Chat button, mute button, etc.) and how to use them effectively.
On Teaching Online
Today I enjoyed reading 100 words of wisdom from 7 online ELT Teachers - really great advice there for those who are teaching online. I feel that most of the advice fits for Google+ Hangouts as well.
How to Teach in a Google+ Hangout
- Circles Only: The session would have worked much better if I had limited my hangout to one of my specific circles.
- Circle New Contacts: if you’re building a list of prospect students, pay attention to circling any new people who enter your class if you go public. After my 60 minute session, I took five minutes to go through the list of attendees and circle those who I didn’t already know. (And who I would like to interact with again in the future.)
- Moderate: I was trying my best to be a good host, and in doing so I let a few clowns survive longer than I should have. If you sense someone is messing around, invite them to play nicely once. If they don’t comply, kick them off or block them. Immediately.
- Gain Experience. This week I plan to find and attend a G+ Hangout by someone who has more experience than I do. I want to feel and see them in action and see what I can learn for my next one.
Over to you: what have you learned from Google+ Hangouts? Online classes?