Sep 12, 2015

Coursework Cross Post: Week 2: Community Groups

Originally published to a blog maintained for the Rutgers course Web-Based Multimedia Design for Educators.

I have been monitoring, and occasionally contributing to, the below communities since our district adopted Google Apps for Education three years ago. For the purpose of the Multimedia Montage Project I will increase my participation to better understand the tools, gather media, and gain feedback to improve the final product.

The Google Apps for Education Google+ community has been an invaluable resource for keeping up with the constantly changing world of Google Apps for Education. The discussions range from update alerts to usage tips to pedagogy. The community is active and diverse, with a nice mix of eager learners and willing teachers. Google Apps is a broad topic, so the community divides discussions into subtopics for easier browsing and discussion. Many times I have found excellent videos, animated gifts, and infographics that demonstrate product uses or highlight best practices. There are occasional off-topic or spam-like posts, but for the most part this community stays on topic and focuses on using the tools to benefit productivity and student learning.

The Chromebook EDU Google+ community is a community comprised of school-based Chromebook users, administrators, trainers, and product vendors. Like the Google Apps community, discussions are divided into subcategories. While there is some duplication with the Google Apps for Education community, there is a substantial amount of original content and discussion that is specific to Chromebooks. In particular, I have found good information and support in setting up domain or organizational level rules to provide safe yet productive digital learning environments for our students when using Chromebooks. I have also found links to interesting blog posts, which led me to follow the blogs of other Google Apps administrators.

Finally, I will monitor #gafe on Twitter. Like the Google+ communities, this hashtag is used by teachers, trainers, developers, and Google Apps for Education fans. While there is some cross-posting between services, there are voices and ideas not necessarily found in the Google+ communities. There is not nearly as much activity as the Google+ communities, however using this hashtag will help my queries go beyond my small group of Twitter followers.