This past week I was invited to Google+ beta and spent some quality time playing with it this weekend. I have to say, despite the mixed reviews, I like it a lot. One of the things I was looking at was whether or not it would provide a social platform for a school to use. If it can be implemented behind the Google Apps and have the same controls on public vs. private systems I think this could be a great tool.
The biggest problem I have had with other tools like Gaggle that a district installs on their own server has to do with the lack of similarity to the public networks where the kids go regardless. My other concern comes from the lack of vibrancy these set ups have. With most social networks there is a lot of hype but school social sites rarely see this. Technology departments rarely communicate how a tool they are providing might be used in class and schools can’t always afford specialists to teach the teachers the benefits of a given tool. Instead they atrophy and become more code hogging server space.
Moving beyond my classroom concerns and excitement I enjoyed how Google+ integrated my existing tools. My Picasa web album,
mail, documents and other tools almost feel effortless. Even if this does not make it to the big social networking tool super-cloud I believe this is a great integrating tool for Google’s other products. On the networking side – well – I need more friends who are on when I am. If I can get my late night game group to plug in over this rather than Skype I may make headway in exploring more of the nifty features of Google+
If you have a Google+ account and want to join me, feel free to look me up as firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a circle of friends waiting for you.