Tag Archive: Google Hangouts

Google Offers Phone Conferencing via Hangouts

Big news of free phone conferencing via Google+ Hangouts, from the Official Gmail Blog:

For those of you who have taken the plunge and are using desktop Hangouts in Gmail, Google+, and the Chrome extension, we’ve heard loud and clear that you miss the ability to make calls from Gmail, so today, we’re happy to announce it’s back – and better than before! Even better: calls to the US and Canada are now free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. And international rates remain super, super low.

Today’s launch also improves the desktop calling experience in a number of ways. For example: you can add multiple phone numbers and video participants to the same call; and you can play sound effects (like applause or laughter) with the Google Effects app.

To make a call from Hangouts, just look for the new phone icon in Gmail, or for the new “Call a phone” menu item in Google+ and the Chrome extension. And of course: if you haven’t yet tried Hangouts in Gmail, you can always click your profile photo in the chat list and select “Try the new Hangouts.”

Making calls from Hangouts is rolling out over the next couple of days. As we’ve said before: Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making and receiving calls is just the beginning. So stay tuned for future updates.

Technology and Learning Conference: Part II

LTDr. Margaret Riel of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology presented at the 2013 Technology and Learning Conference on the topic of “Video Conferencing and Real-Time Note Taking”.  Students in the Master of Arts in Learning Technologies program collaborate synchronously, or in real-time, using Google Hangouts and Google Documents.

GoogleGoogle Hangouts is a free online Web conferencing tool. Up to nine people can video chat with each other, which makes this tool great for small group collaboration. There are also Screen Sharing and Google Drive Collaboration capabilities. Dr. Riel’s students use Google Drive (also known as Google Documents) to take collaborative, real-time, notes during their sessions. Each person can edit the Google Document, so there’s no need for version control or a single person responsible for meeting minutes.

When asked why her class utilizes Google Hangout as opposed to other Web conferencing systems, she stated that Google Hangout allows for students to speak without a moderator or activating their microphone. This “free flow” of communication allows for a more collaborative atmosphere. Students don’t have to wait to give encouragement and feedback. In addition, the open microphone results in ambient noise that causes a feeling of “being in a shared space together”, as opposed to the silence and isolation that is sometimes associated with moderated Web conferencing rooms.

learning circle modelAnother topic Dr. Riel discussed was that of “learning circles”. The learning circle model is a mechanism for organizing collective learning within a group.  Dr. Riel’s students contribute to learning circles by sharing their progress on academic research and giving input in an open discussion. This aspect of the model is called “Knowledge Building Dialogue”. They learn from each others’ strategies and actions and use feedback from the collaborative circle to improve their individual work. The Diverse Participants result in a variety of shared perspectives and insights that can help shape individual work.

More to Come

We look forward to sharing more from the conference in the coming weeks and look forward to future conferences. In 2011 at the last conference we were privileged to have one of our own professors (our own Greg McNeal) give a compelling presentation on Turning Technologies ResponseCards (Classroom Clickers). We encourage all the faculty to consider attending and presenting at future conferences; let us know how we can support you if you are interested.

Google+ Hangouts

Facebook and Skype, by now they’ve become standards for keeping in touch on the Internet. But perhaps you’ve discovered some of their limitations, and are ready to take a look at new tools Google has been working on.

One of the best kept secrets of Google’s new social media platform called Google+ (or Google Plus) is their hangouts feature.

Google+ takes a different look at social media connecting you to others through interests, rather than relationships. You can network with those specifically interested in growing personally and professionally, rather than just having your page filled with your Uncle Joe’s fishing stories and Aunt Sara’s political ramblings.

But even if you prefer to connect with Facebook, nothing Facebook and Skype can offer compare to the experience on Google+ Hangouts. This is more than a video-phone call, this is an interactive environment for collaboration. Watch YouTube videos together, work on shared documents in real-time, or keep in touch with groups of people.

Group meetings online, are great for departments, faculty committees or student publications! The organizer even has moderator controls. And all of this can be published directly to YouTube or be private, whatever you want.

Video publishing, group projects, social networking based on interest rather than who your crazy cousin married. Check it out: