GOOD

Why Google+ Is an Education Game Changer

When it comes to teaching and learning, Google+ has some pretty serious advantages over both Twitter and Facebook.


It's been a week since I snagged a Google+ invite, and while it's fun to hit the reset button on my personal social media life, what I'm really interested in is how the service is going to impact teaching and learning. There's a good chance that Google+ is going to become a powerful communication and collaboration tool in the classroom. In fact, it could end up being a serious education game changer.

Google+ has some clear advantages over Facebook in the K-12 arena, especially since students younger than 13 can't join Facebook. Some school districts even have policies prohibiting teachers from friending students of any age, period. There isn't (yet) any such prohibition around Google+, and because the Circles feature makes it simple for teachers to separate their personal lives from their professional lives, all the awkward possibilities of students seeing photos of their teacher from a party pretty much disappear.


Even at the college level, Google+ seems like it's poised to revolutionize things. Sure, over the past couple of years, colleges have increased their presence on Facebook, and even created Facebook-specific apps. But again, the Circles strip away the weird privacy issues so that professors can feel more comfortable about interacting with their students online.

Stanford's B.J. Fogg, director of the university's Persuasive Technology Lab, says he'll be using Google+ to foster collaboration on research projects. "Probably every project in my lab will have its own circle," he said. Likewise, Lehigh University journalism professor Jeremy Littau wrote on his blog that he plans to require every student to sign up for Google+. "I’m already planning on holding Hangout office hours this fall for students, where they can get on and ask questions about class material," he says. I can certainly imagine this kind of innovation happening at the K-12 level as well.

I've written before about the healthy sharing of ideas among teachers on Twitter, and how educators are using it to engage introverted students in learning. But Twitter also has its disadvantages—namely, that it's not archived. Educators can have a great conversation about a topic, but once a day or two has gone by, those tweets are buried in a user's tweet stream. In comparison, Google+ will allow teachers (or students) to have discussions with each other without a 140 character limit. And if a user wants to access the discussion a couple months later, they'll be able to do so.

One challenge with adopting Google+ at the K-12 level may be whether some school districts continue to block access to Google. That's already fairly common: Districts worry about students accessing pornography, and they don't want their employees accessing their Gmail during the day. And, if teachers don't get training on all the ways it can support what's happening in the classroom, chances are, they're not going to use it.

Of course, we won't really know the impact of Google+ on the classroom until school starts back up in August and September. It's going to be pretty exciting to see the ways educators at all levels use the service to transform education.

Articles
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
Business

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading
Health

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading