Earlier today I tested Google Hangouts On Air with Theo Kuechel.
As we stumbled our way through the various apps and features we talked about a number of issues.
Here are 4 immediate observations as I am strapped for time as usual.
1) It will be interesting to see how this scales and what the implications are for permissions around it (Handle With Care). The problem will be how it conflicts with T&C’s and institutional expectations in schools. Theo will be writing a post about this and Glow on his blog Digital Signposts. The fact is it is a fairly democratic medium and people will be exposed to the full glare of how they are presented (and represented) worldwide. If you have a problem with that representation you will disengage and retreat into other media or private modes. As Theo mentioned you can, in some cases, remix with a CC licence.
2) How will you add granularity to this medium. One thing I’d like to see would be an ability to annotate at timed intervals. I’d also like to see visual annotation in the screen sharing, so you can draw arrows and highlight stuff. As many, many resources begin to emerge the ability to aggregate and conserve quickly will be vital. The future is indeed data and how you control and direct the flow. This is as true for schools as it is for business – where the two conflict might be a worry though…
3) Amplifying scope always interests me with a tool like this. Having it up on a whiteboard for a room full of observers and having that orchestrated by someone facilitating the interaction will introduce new protocols of social interaction at distance. This is something the MirandaMods have been doing for some time now. Having several rooms with several whiteboards would amplify this further. The ability to make this a very local conversation or a global one or a mixture of both (time zones and sleep deprivation being issues here).
4) Document sharing and annotation in real time with video interaction. So you get to see the context of what it is you are working on and the responses from other people.
I could go on but those are just a few to begin with. This would be a marvellous tool to blend with Teachmeets. I should imagine it will facilitate cluster bombs of interaction throughout the educational community and, as ever, teachers and students will quickly adapt and subvert the medium.
Give it a go – join up for Google Plus and YouTube and you have a CPD tool there for the asking. If you are in a large school, over several sites, this will save time at staff meetings. It will drive the use of these tools right into the heart of the educational establishment and I can only welcome that wholeheartedly.