How to use Google Hangouts in the Classroom: Tips from Students (Guest Post)

This is a guest post by Jasmine Doan. Jasmine is a rising Junior at Seabury Hall. She is keenly interested in math, technology, and student enrichment opportunities.


Google Hangout is not only a free educational web tool, but also a fun activity for your students to collaborate outside of the classroom.  Teachers can implement Google Hangouts to…

1. Discuss a book (using the voice feature to propose a question and the chat feature to write your responses)

2. Host a hangout (I recommend groups of 4) to practice using new vocabulary and phrases for a foreign language class

3. Use Google docs, spreadsheet or presentation feature to do peer editing for projects/essays

4. Watch Youtube videos together to spark a discussion

5. Practice oral presentations.

6. Have a test study session (using the voice feature to propose a question and the chat feature to write your responses)

Students can learn and have fun at the same time with Google Hangouts!

Jasmine and Ms. Linda Lindsay trying out some of the Effects in Hangouts

A member of my Google Hangout study group, Anna Ezzy, says “Google hangouts are great because you can have fun while studying. The best part is the stickers app. With this app, you can casually wear a mustache and snorkel gear while you work with your friends!"

Dos and Don’ts for Google Hangouts

If teachers decide to set up a Google Hangout, they should make sure that students take turns in the discussion. It is important that the students mute their microphones when others are talking to avoid interrupting their peers' train of thought.  

Personally, I think teachers should not require students to use Google Hangouts for an after school assignment because it is challenging for students to find a time to meet during the weekdays. However, Google Hangouts is a great study tool for the teachers to share with their students, especially for collaborative projects. If the teachers made an optional Google Hangout, they may spark a deeper discussion because they will attract students who need help.  The hangout can also help teachers determine which concepts their students need more clarification. 

Seabury Hall High School Math Team Google+ Community

On a side note, teachers could also create a Google Community where students can post questions. The teachers could have their students reply to their peers questions or +1 the posts if they also do not have the answer to the question. The teacher could then use this information to create a Google Hangout addressing these questions or go over these questions in class the following day. 

Google Hangouts is a great tool to implement in the classroom. Here is a link to more information on how other teachers implement Google Hangouts in their classrooms -

Good luck testing Google Hangouts! 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at


Jasmine Doan

Resources for Learning about COPPA's (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) New Rules

Discussing COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) and how the new rules affect your school?

Here are some resources to examine:

1. A transcribed video from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explaining the new changes.
2. QuickList of links from the FTC's website.
3. Google's official page about COPPA, for GAFE (Google Apps for Education) schools.

Protecting Children's Privacy under COPPA, July 2, 2013

Transcript of the video:

When it comes to information that companies collect online from kids under 13, parents should be in control.  That’s the thinking behind the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the COPPA Rule.  The Rule has been in place for years, but the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has revised COPPA to keep pace with technology.

If your company has been complying with COPPA, the basics still apply. You still have to give notice to parents and get their verifiable consent before you collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13.  You still have to keep kids’ information secure.  And the revised COPPA Rule retains safe harbor provisions so that groups can submit programs for FTC approval.  But five key changes to COPPA take effect July 1, 2013.  Here’s what your business needs to know.

I’m Peder Magee, an attorney with the FTC.  So what’s new about COPPA?  The first important change is that the FTC has revised some definitions to expand who’s covered by COPPA – and the kinds of information that require companies to comply with the Rule.

The Rule has always applied if you operate a website, an online service, or an app directed to children under 13.  It also applies if you have a site, a service, or an app directed to a general audience, and you have actual knowledge that you’re collecting personal information online from kids in that under-13 age group.
Revisions to the Rule make it clear that COPPA also covers an operator of a child-directed site or service where it allows outside services — like plug-ins or advertising networks — to collect personal information from visitors.  In addition, if a plug-in or ad network has actual knowledge that it’s collecting personal information through a child-directed site or service, the plug-in or ad network is covered by COPPA, too.
The upshot:  The Rule applies to companies that may be new to COPPA compliance.

The FTC also has revised the definition of the types of information COPPA covers.  The Rule has always applied if companies collect certain kinds of personal information from kids under 13 – like their first and last name, a home address, a phone number, an email address, online contact information, or a screen or user name that functions as online contact information.

But the FTC has clarified that definition.  The COPPA Rule covers geolocation information that  can identify a street name and the  city or town.  And we’ve expanded the Rule to include photos, videos, and audio files that contain a kid’s image or voice as well.

Something else covered under the revised COPPA Rule:  persistent identifiers that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different sites or online services.  But there’s a notable exception here:  COPPA’s parental notice and consent requirements don’t apply if the identifier is used just to support your site’s internal operations.  Take a look at  the Rule for more about  the meaning of “internal operations”  in this context.

Another change to COPPA relates to what operators need to tell parents.  It’s still the law that you have to notify parents directly and get their verifiable consent before collecting personal information online from their kids.  But now you need to put certain key pieces of information up front within the notice you send.  You’ll want to read the Rule for the specifics, but the big picture is that it’s not enough just to give parents a link to something on your site and expect them to figure things out for themselves.  This change will make it easier for parents to get the important details they need, when they need them.  The Rule also streamlines what you have to  include in your online privacy policy about your information practices.

The third change involves new ways to get the parental consent COPPA requires.  In addition to the methods already in the Rule – including FTC-approved safe harbor programs – COPPA now gives businesses more ways to get  a parent’s OK.  For example, electronic scans of signed consent forms, videoconferencing, the use of government-issued IDs, and alternative payment systems (assuming they meet the same stringent criteria as credit cards).  The sliding scale mechanism of parental consent — often called “email plus” — is still an acceptable method for operators that collect personal information just for their own internal use.  Technology changes quickly, so to encourage innovation in this area, the revised Rule sets up a voluntary process for businesses to get FTC approval for other methods of parental consent.

The fourth change strengthens provisions for keeping kids' information confidential and secure.  Under the revised Rule, operators must take reasonable steps to make sure that before releasing information to service providers or other third parties, those companies are capable of maintaining the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the information.  It’s not enough if they just talk the talk.  You also need to get assurances they’ll follow through.  Under COPPA,  you can retain kids’ personal information only as long as  it’s reasonably necessary.  And when you dispose of it, you have to take reasonable steps to protect against unauthorized access.

The fifth change to COPPA deals with additional monitoring of self-regulatory safe harbors.  The new Rule strengthens the FTC's oversight of safe harbor programs.  It requires them to audit members and report the combined results of those audits to the FTC every year.

That’s just a brief recap of changes to COPPA.  For compliance resources, visit the  Children’s Privacy page on the FTC Business Center at business dot ftc dot gov.  For more how-to guidance, read the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule: What Your Business Needs to Know and Complying with COPPA:  Frequently Asked Questions.  Have a question that’s not answered there?  Send us an email at CoppaHotLine at ftc dot gov.

Check out:

From the FTC

Revised Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule Goes Into Effect Today (July 1, 2013)

The actual COPPA rule

Frequently Asked Questions

Guide for Parents: Protecting Your Child's Privacy Online

COPPA and Schools

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule: A Six-Step Compliance Plan for Your Business

From Google

Complying with the Children's Online Privacy Act (COPPA) for Google Apps for Education (GAFE) schools, from Google.

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Got any other resources to include? Please include them in the comments below.

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Screencast-O-Matic SuperQuickStart Guide

Just did this Screencast-O-Matic SuperQuickStart Google presentation for our faculty and I thought others might find it useful.

Quick link to this presentation:

I'm a big fan of Screencast-O-Matic for both faculty and students! It's a fun, quick way to create visual content.

Good luck screencasting, and have fun with it!

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Use this Google Custom Search Engine to Search Through '40 Sources for Curated Educational Videos

My motive? To save our teachers and students time!

So I created a Google custom search engine that searches through the 40 Sources for Curated Educational Videos by Getting Smart, and IT WORKS!

Use it as you would a regular Google search.

I embedded the search in our Educational Video LibGuide and I'll be promoting the use of the search engine come the beginning of school.

Please feel free to use the search. Here's the public URL.

Or, you can use the code for embedding the search on your website.

Copy and paste:

Alternately, you can copy and paste the code from my Google doc.

You can easily create your own Google custom search engine.

Check out Google's support page for creating a custom search engine.

Happy searching for great educational videos and creating your own custom search engine, and have fun with it!

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Update: This code doesn't seem to work within a GAFE site! As a workaround, you can insert this link:
(it will be an extra click to get to the search engine)

Here's a Neat Infographic on 'The History of the Hashtag'

People ask me about hashtags all the time. "What do they mean?"

I tell them this: 
Just think of hashtags as subjects.

There are the standard, popular subjects (much like the subject categories of the Dewey Decimal System -- but I keep this reference to my librarian self). Also, anyone can create their own hashtag to designate a group, to express emotions, to editorialize -- for anything, really.

Now when people ask, I will have a nice little infographic to show them. It's informative and entertaining and it was created by blur Group, a global technology company that specializes in ecommerce.

According to the infographic, Chris Messina first suggested using hashtags for Twitter groups in 2007. Tumblr followed later that year, Instagram started using hashtags in 2010, Google Plus hopped on the bandwagon in 2011, and Flickr barely beat out Facebook to avoid last place in 2013.

Covered in the infographic are the hashtag's effect on politics, the entertainment industry, and business.

These are my favorite factoids:
•The most popular hashtag on Instagram (2011) 
•The positive effect of the hashtag #40dollars (2011) 
•How #McDStories backfired on the company (2012) 
•The success that the hashtag #Nike has enjoyed (2013)
Click on the image and see for yourself:

courtesy of the blur Group
Original at History of the Hashtag [Infographic]

Happy #hashtagging, and have fun with it!

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P.S. These are four of my most favorite hashtags :
#edchat in Google Plus and Twitter
#edtech in Google Plus and Twitter
#GAFE (Google Apps for Education) in Google Plus and Twitter
#TLChat (Teacher-Librarian Chat) in Google Plus and Twitter

My 10 Favorite Google Tips of the 100 Shared by @EdReach

Edreach's recent Google Educast #100 celebrated 100 Google Tips (very clever :D).

What a head-dizzying goldmine of ideas!

I've selected 10 TIPS to recommend because:
  1. I did not know about these tips before.
  2. I love them.
  3. I love these tips so much I'm going to recommend them to our faculty.
  4. The number 10 is not nearly as overwhelming as 100. :)
You, of course, will have your own curated list. Check out the amazing full interactive list of 100 Google Tips here.

A BIG SHOUT-OUT to The EdReach Network for keeping us current with The Google Educast weekly vodcasts, and to the innovative Google Certified Teachers who put this particular list together.

EdReach does the hangout thing right, with their Show Notes Archive for we list/link lovers to have a look at later.

So, in sharing order, here are my 10 favorite tips. I starred ☆ my personal Top 3.

1. Script Central (shared by Fred Delventhal - "Lose your fear of scripts") - a Sandbox site created by Jay Atwood, a Google Certified Teacher and Trainer. Central is the operative word here.

2. Google Public Data Explorer (shared by Tasha Bergson-Michelson) - "makes large, public-interest datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As the charts and maps animate over time, the changes in the world become easier to understand. You don't have to be a data expert to navigate between different views, make your own comparisons, and share your findings." Google Support

(Look at how the population of Hawaii, recorded only since 1950, has changed)

3. Create a Photo Slideshow on YouTube (shared by Juan De Luca).

4. Twisted Wave  (shared by Nick Cusumano). You can create podcasts in Google Drive!

"TwistedWave is a full featured audio editor that allows you to: - Edit audio files from your computer or your Google Drive, - Apply effects, - Save in one of many supported file formats, and export the file back to your disk, Google Drive or SoundCloud." Chrome Store.

I am going to try this!

5.  Edutraining by Google - (shared by Kimberly Zimmer). This is the home base of Google Apps training. There are lesson plans for everything.

6. Spanning (shared by Juan De Luca). Stats for Google Drive - take a visual look at how you're using your storage in your Google Drive.

(This is what my personal Google Drive account looks like today)

7. Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness, and World Peace by Chade-Meng Tan, one of Google's early engineers (shared by host Kevin Brookhouser). I'm ordering this book. It sounds great!

8. (Kim) A gallery of user-submitted JavaScripts to enjoy.

9. World Time Buddy Chrome App - (Nick). This is a handy little time converter app that you can use with Google Calendar.

10.  Chrome AT Toolbox (Nick). A database of Assistive Technology apps and extensions, searchable by task, profile and keyword. There's even a Google+ Community forum: Google Chrome A.T.

Aren't these fantastic? Happy exploring, and have fun with it!

Here again is the full interactive list of 100 Google Tips

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This "Libraries of the Future" Infographic Nails it!

I love this infographic so much!

It was adapted from research and captures with statistics how libraries and librarians fit into the big research and reading picture.

I think I'll print it out and display it at my desk at work.

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Libraries of the Future Visualization |

Here's the source link mentioned in the infographic:

which includes this slideshare:

Thank you so much, Kristin Purcell!