I haven’t had much to do with Google hangouts although I participated in the EdTech Crew end of year podcast hangout at the end of last year.
I hadn’t realised, till I started reading the post for this topic and exploring some of the links, that you could broadcast the hangout live, that you don’t actually have to be a participant to view. This opens up lots of possibilities I think, particularly for presentations to large distributed groups where several people need to interact while others just listen (or participate via backchannels perhaps). Hangouts in general would be amazing at the organisation where I work as there are 3000 employees and many volunteers spread across the country. There are teleconferences held all the time but how much better would it be to see who you’re talking to, and to be able to record the conversation for anyone who missed out live. Even on a smaller scale it would be fabulous. My manager is in Brisbane and our partner from another organisation is in Macedon. Unfortunately the computer system doesn’t currently allow the use of Skype and the only browser is an old version of IE! Oh yeah, and we don’t have audio!
Skype I’ve used more. I once had a job interview on Skype; my husband has travelled a bit for work so we’ve caught up on Skype (much nicer than a phone call but it confuses the dogs no end), and I’ve attended several conferences where keynote speakers have presented virtually through Skype. The most recent was at EduTech in Brisbane in June. Sir Ken Robinson lost none of his charisma or impact even though he was thousands of miles away and it was 2am where he was.
The Skype an author wiki is a great resource and well worth checking out for schools and libraries alike. In my current job I have suggested that a similar central listing of emergency management personnel could be a useful addition to existing disaster resilience education resources.
Postscript 21 July
I just came across this fantastic list of 50 Ideas for using G+ Hangouts in Learning by Category from Teachthought Can’t wait to try some of them out!