Will Google+ Be a Plus for Our Learners?

At the end of June, the @BreakDrink Campus Tech Connection (#CTCX) discussed Google’s new Chromebook hardware and some of it’s applications on our show. Here is a great as walk-through of the Samsung 5 Chromebook c/o our listener @brifanning and his co-worker Vlad.

As a student who primarily reads, researches, writes and works online for both classes and in Google applications – the Samsung 5 Chromebook is a good fit for my needs. I like the portability, access to both 3G/Wifi and most of my content is stored online which requires me to have little to no memory space. I still have a my MacBook Pro to support final manuscript edits, listen to my iTunes library, Skype with far away family/friends and so on. This means that my Chromebook is NOT replacing my current computing needs entirely; however it does help me as a full time professional and student as I work on a Mac at home, PC at my office and fulfill my lightweight need for classes/research on campus. A ReadWriteWeb article said it best: It’s not the device itself that matters, it’s how you use it. 

In considering the value of either a Chromebook or netbook for higher education, I can see why some institutions might head for the clouds. Many organizations are finding it far easier, less expensive and more efficient to access resources in the cloud. As budgets are cut and resources shrink, many institutions will consider integrated systems that support the changing IT needs for education.

Here are a few ways higher education professionals could put a Google Chromebook to work on campus:

All things Google (Chromebook, OS, Apps & Plus) is becoming more appealing to educators. Although many features are still in beta mode and integration has been limited between Google products and now Google+ – there is potential to connect and share with learners in this new social space. 
What impact will Google+ have on education and learning? I doubt that Google Plus will replace the enterprise or LMS systems supported by your higher ed institutions just yet; however it could be a great solution for instructors who are searching for alternative learning environments/platforms. Although it is fun to speculate the learning possibilities of Google+, I would be more interested in piloting a course or training program using this social web first. I plan to explore the features it has to offer & find out what new additions are ahead before identifying Google+ as a learning and training tool. Google+ has the potential to support groups for training, development and on-going learning initiatives. There is much to be said about a connected community of online learners who are interested in sharing and engaging. It will be interesting to see what updates Google+ is working on and what happens as otheres flock to the social network to explore.
In the meantime, here are some preliminary thoughts we recently shared on the #CTCX Google+ Preview Show from last week, and the BreakDrink Google+ Overview & Resources Guide for those of you just exploring the Google+ realm.  Please share any resources & links you find about Google+ In the LIVE Google Doc. Thanks!

What do YOU think about Google+so far? Is is a plus for you or for learners?

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