Google, the world is watching…

…and waiting with great anticipation for Google Plus.

I was fortunate enough to get a Google Plus account courtesy of my friend Leslie Fisher on the weekend and started playing around with it.  The more I played with it, the more potential that I saw for education.  It addresses, I think, many of the issues that makes Facebook so unusable for most in education.  Many of the concerns revolve around security and privacy issues.  That’s not to put Facebook down – it was designed with another social networking purpose.  Google Plus seems to be built on a good foundation of privacy and networking and starts from a position of safety and then you decide what to open up after that.

I was curious and actually monitored this particular post with over 240 reads as I type this Monday evening.  I was amazed also at the folks that retweeted the news of the original posting.  Given the the nature of the post and after some checking, they all appear to be educators and that makes sense given the title of the post.  The geography speaks for itself.  Retweets identifying the blog post came from:

  • Greece
  • Latvia
  • Philadelphia, USA
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Potsdam, Germany
  • Waterloo, Canada
  • Montevideo, Buenos Aires
  • Peterborough, Canada
  • Windsor, Canada
  • Hrvatska
  • Stratford, Canada
  • Germany
  • Zug, Switzerland
  • York Region, Canada
  • Richmond Hill, Canada
  • The Rock, Canada
  • Victoria, Australia
  • Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Alberta, Canada
  • and many from parts unknown!

So, Google, what does this tells me?  It tells me that educators world-wide are looking for the possibilities of a new and safe social network for use in education.  If you’re reading the general Twitter stream and following conversations about Google Plus, there are great conversations.

I would suggest that many of the conversations are about “can you send me an invite?”  As you know, gaining access is a tad on the difficult side but great teachers want to check it out.  With apologies to my friends in Australia and Buenos Aires, summer vacation just started in the North Hemisphere.  The reality is that most teachers don’t kick back and do nothing for the next two months.  They’re involved in professional learning, taking upgrading or other qualification courses, and going into school to do school activities like setting up classroom walls and virtual classrooms on the network for the fall.  If you understand this, and you have a great product for education, this is absolutely the time to make it available for teachers to kick the tires, evaluate and give it test runs for possible adoption in the fall.

Teachers using Web 2.0 applications are well aware of the perpetual beta.  Google Plus is quite clear that the product isn’t finished yet but what I’m seeing is more than enough to give a great flavour of the network and what’s to come.  If Google is targeting something that might well be used in education, then now is the time to make accounts available for educators to preview.  Now is the time that people will take the time to dig deeper into new resources.

My original review and thoughts about Google Plus for Education was posted here.

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