Working with Google+
Posted by Phil Young
Beyond the curricular expectations for this term, the focus was to use social media as a learning tool.
To date we have used #twitter #storify #smore and my students have for the most part enjoyed using these in their view non-learning tools for learning. There are definitely a few typically non-engaged students who have thrived and enjoyed this new opportunity and of course a few that even this opportunity did not light their learning flame.
The most recent journey down social media lane was #Google+. In the realm of social media tools, I would have to say that this is one that just has not caught on with the mainstream social media users. It would however provide us with the flexibility and options to learn how to use social media in an effective way both as learning tool and a tool to help build a positive digital footprint.
The task for my students was to take on the persona of the main character in a fictional book they would be reading. They would share and post as the character as if it were actually themselves. The would build a profile for the character and they would evolve as a person though a fictional one.
The first challenge was to create to Google+ accounts, this went fairly smoothly except that some if my students had the difficulty of creating a profile for a person they knew little about. Books needed to be read and the students were forced to pay particular attention to how their main character was developed by the author so that they could build their profile. This really showed me who recognized the development of the character and who did not.
Of course as they developed their profiles, they would also be posting and sharing what was going on in their lives as if it was them living the events occurring in the book. Both as I and my students did this we found out that it was going to take more time than what we had planned to read our books because as things happened we were pausing to share on Google+. For some of my readers this was difficult while for others who were not my typical readers the breaks provided by the need to post keep them going. I did have a couple who struggled with the idea and so they fell back on traditional methods like journaling as the character.
Overall, I feel that this activity was successful and provided my class an opportunity to see a use for social media beyond the “social”
We will try this again, but in small groups reading one common book and each taking on the roles of different characters where we then interact as those characters online.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this activity.