I taught our class about Google Hangouts today. This is really fun tool to use because it allows you to chat or video chat with anyone who has a Google+ account. I feel like it should be a requirement for everyone to have a Google account, even if you do not use your Gmail account because Google has so many beneficial tools that people can use for just about anything. Hangouts is completely free, and it works on Macs, PCs, iOS devices, and Android devices. There is also a screen sharing tool in Hangouts so that one person can see the other person’s screen if needed. Here is a picture of my friends and me video chatting and using the chat tool.
Unlike many of the other chatting tools out there, Hangouts does not have too many downsides in my opinion. Only 10 people max can video chat at once, which may not be such a bad thing because it could get confusing trying to compete for who should talk in a Hangout with more than 10 people. Also, there is a plugin that is required to download if you want to install Hangouts on a computer. Now that I think about it, these cons really aren’t that bad.
There are several uses for Google Hangouts in the classroom, even though most people will find themselves using Hangouts just to chat with friends. This could be an excellent alternative for parent-teacher conferences if the parent and/or teacher cannot seem to meet in person. Also, students can use Hangouts among themselves as a way to clarify or get help with the material that is being taught in class. We could even chat with a professional who uses math so that students can see from someone other than me what is really used in the work force.