5 ideas for using Google Hangouts On Air

If you're an innovative educator, by now, you have probably tried Google Hangouts which let you conduct a video conference with up to ten people / locations FOR FREE! This by itself has terrific potential for teaching and learning tool.

I explained here ways the following ideas could be put to use in the classroom:

1)Take a class without having to be in the same place.

2) Invite an audience to a performance.

3) Invite others to perform/discuss with you.

What you may yet to have tried is livestreaming your Hangout and capturing it via YouTube. This is known as Google Hangouts On Air which takes something that was already awesome, and makes it even better.

You can see what it is here:

You can find out how to set it up here.

You can discover five great ways to use it for education below.

1)Online classes / webinars

Forget that expensive software. Google Hangouts are now the perfect tool for online professional development and webinars. Now you can livestream that online class and have up to ten participants total. So you can have several expert guests joining the class and still have several spaces for participants to jump in for questions, feedback, etc. Since only ten participants can chat at a time in a Hangout, for a large class use a back channel chat like Twitter with selected hashtag, Today’s Meet, or Chatzy. Remember to assign a backchannel monitor that among other things can invite interested participants who have something to contribute to join the Hangout live.

2)Professional development

The first thing that comes to my mind is that professional development can be livestreamed so for instance even if educators can’t be at a professional development in person, they can watch it from their homes and up to ten can even participate. These sessions are then recorded and available on YouTube for viewing anytime / anywhere. What’s also great is that YouTube now has simple editing tools, so you can quickly and easily add captions, headlines, cut video etc.

3)The home – school connection

In the 21st century where many students come from either single-parent working families or those where both parents must work, coming to school is difficult. Livestreaming lets school come to the parent either live or later via recording. Schools can share morning announcements, assemblies, celebrations and more. Teachers can student presentations and invite parents to actually join the hangout at the time their child will be presenting. It is there later for parents to share with friends and families to brag far and wide. Views and comments can also be exciting and motivating for students. The account holder has comment moderation privileges, if there are worries about possible inappropriate comments.


Sometimes not all participants can physically attend a meeting, but with livestreaming they can watch from where they are live, or view later.

5)Poetry Slam

It is not unusual for schools to collaborate with other schools for poetry slams. In the past this was often done via something like Skype. With Google Hangouts On Air, you can have multiple classes collaborating and on the day of the actual slam, the event can be livestreamed and the school community invited to watch. For those who can’t watch live, they can watch the recording.

So, what do you think? Do any of these ideas excite you? Do you have another idea? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments.

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several books and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Tech & Learning.  

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.