Several colleagues and I have an important Google Hangout scheduled for Monday, but the weather will likely result in a snow day. One of our colleagues had not yet used Hangouts, so another colleague decided to teach him how to use it by actually coordinating a hangout. I was at the diner, but was able to join by connecting my Chromebook via wireless access in my town.
The technical challenge of getting our colleague up and going took less than five minutes, so we decided to model some other pedagogical uses as well. I held up a piece of toast and a pat of butter to the camera and said, “Pan y mantequilla” to the others in the Hangout. After “jugo de naranja” and a few other words I remembered from high school Spanish, the point was clear that the opportunities for learning and collaborating from anytime, anywhere, about anything is a reality, and one which we should extend to our students. Most of my collaboration after that was via the shared document and text, as I did not want to disturb other diners.
Whether it’s students sharing language experiences or collaborating on solving advanced problems, the future has arrived. Video conferencing, chat, and document sharing from just about anywhere reinforces the value of staying relevant with our students’ real life experiences.