News is starting to spread about the new Google+ Project. While most people are comparing it to Facebook, I also look at it and see how it is taking on everything from Foursquare to you name the latest niche social network flavor site. It seems like they are going after it all: social networking, location services, conferencing, recommendations, etc. But two important features will make it something to watch for educators: the focus on creating small groups to share with and a focus on privacy.
If you can create your own “Circles” as they call them, and then share what you want with them and even do video chats – you pretty much have the beginnings of a Learning Management System. If they integrate Circles with other services (like Blogspot) – that would make it even more interesting. You could make a blog private and then with one click allow access to one circle (course).
Like Google Wave, invitations are limited (and will probably be highly sought after for a while). But will the failure of Google Wave make people too cautious to try this? And when was the last time Google had a big hit idea on their hands? Who will want to start using this and then have it canceled in a year or two?
Okay… I do want to give it a shot. And you probably do to. But Google Wave (and Lively and…) all showed us that major interest from the educational world is not enough to keep a Google project going. Which is one reason why I tend to doubt we will ever see a Google LMS.
Matt is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.