Article by: Julie Kang

Photos by: Matthew Seet

DSC_3184Ever since ISM has activated Google+ over a year ago, teachers and students have been able to make the best of it in education and leverage it to their advantage. The Google+ network is a platform that allows many people to peer more broadly into each others’ digital lives. Additionally, it is a unique platform that is not only growing in terms of users, but also in terms of features.

Yoo Jean Ra, a high school student, argues that it has two killer-features that draw the public in. The first is Google+’s Communities Feature, which allows groups, or “circles”, as it is called, to form around particular interests. Being one of the most used features by teachers and students at ISM, this tool allows users to manage their followers and share their updates with them. Teachers are able to use Circles to create a community for our class and invite students to join it. Teachers can also use this service to post their class announcements and important links. However, it is also possible for students to create their own circles. “ [A] few weeks ago, I would not have said that Google+ was an easy place to meet people,” says Yoo Jean, “but now it is different. I can join any community inside ISM.”

DSC_3183The second major Google+ feature that Yoo Jean praises is Hangouts, which enables group meetings, discussions, or demonstrations. “It is completely unique in a sense that it allows people to organize a panel discussion and then archive it and then upload it to Youtube,” Yoo Jean adds. “When I am teaching math homework to my friends, I can organize a chat through or do a live demonstration.”

Mr. Collett points out, however, that the most prominent  feature of Google+ is the “Community.” According to Mr. Collet, this feature has improved teamwork among students. By creating communities, ISM students have been able to work in both open and closed groups, along with the teacher being able to see and help the students with their work in their course stream without having to manually visit each group.

Thanks to Google+, ISM students are able to know about people’s friendships on Gmail, the places they go and how they spend their time. However, some students have been confused with the novelty of these Google+ features. Despite this, Google+ remains to be one of the best tools that enhances a beneficial educational learning environment for students and teachers alike.

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