Using Google Hangouts and Edmodo to Engage Students

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March 7th, 2013

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This is a guest post by Justin Talmadge, Technology Integration Specialist at Snoqualmie Valley School District. If you are interested in contributing to the Edmodo Blog, please complete this form.

Connect with Justin on Edmodo, follow him at @mrtalmadge or visit his blog.

As an Instructional Technology Specialist working primarily with teachers, I am always looking at new ways to deliver professional development.  Recently, I have been exploring the use of Google Hangouts to record conversations with experienced iPad using teachers in our district.

Understanding Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a multi-user video conference (think FaceTime or Skype, but with multiple faces).  To get a better understanding, view my posts here. There are many ways for teachers to use Google Hangouts: holding virtual meetings, hosting guest speakers, or creating a video podcast.

Using Google Hangout and Edmodo Safely
Each participant must have a Google Plus account in order to participate in a Google Hangout, which brings up a host of issues related to Internet safety and security for students, particularly those under the age of 13.

For this reason, my district has only “turned-on” Google Plus for staff. Students can make use of the technology with their own non-district sponsored Google accounts.

The challenge is that I would rather my district encourage teachers and students to use new technology appropriately v. standing in the way of innovation. Here is where Edmodo comes to the rescue (again!), offering a way to make it happen. 

Sharing “Hangouts” with Students
While it is not feasible (yet) for our district to sponsor students participating in a Hangout, teacher can safely post Hangouts to their Edmodo stream. Simply enable Hangouts “on air,” which creates a unique embed code that you attach to a post in Edmodo.

Students can click on the embedded video from their Edmodo stream and watch the live video as well as make comments in Edmodo by replying.  The teacher who initiated the Hangout can respond in real time within the video to student questions/comments as they show up below the original post.

An Example of Google Hangouts in Practice
Imagine that you are giving a big test to your class tomorrow and many of your students are at home studying. One of these students, Johnny, is struggling with a problem, but he knows that you’ll be Hanging out on Edmodo between 4:00-5:00 pm.

Johnny gets online, clicks on the Hangout video, posts his question and waits for your video response.  Sally, another student with the same question, logs in to Edmodo after dinner that evening and sees the post with Johnny’s question.  She clicks on the automatically generated recording of your Hangout, views your in-depth video response and replies “I am so ready for the test tomorrow!”

3 responses to “Using Google Hangouts and Edmodo to Engage Students”

  1. Do you know whether or not people can actively participate in an on-air Hangout? Or does the video just go live and streams (plus records)? For example, when I run a Hangout with another class I often invite them and those students can chat back via video and sound. Does this make sense?

    • Justin Talmadge says:

      Hi Michael,

      Unfortunately, using the method I describe above only allows for viewing not participating in a Hangout. Participation requires having a Google Plus account, which I don’t think is feasible for all students.


  2. Sergio says:

    Will edmodo offer video streaming in the future for students?

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