Let’s Hang! 10+ Ways to Spark Collaboration with Google Hangouts

“It is a fact that in the right formation, the lifting power of many wings can achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.” – Milton Olson

Google has many free incredible apps and tools that work on any device to support and promote collaboration. I have found great success integrating Google Drive with Google Hangouts. Hangouts allows video chat for 10 people and has many incredible apps for you to make music, peer edit documents, screenshare, doodle, play games, and more! My tip is to create a Google class account associated with a class Youtube channel. Hangouts allows you to record and easily make screen video tutorials or just have a video of group collaboration. By having your Google class gmail and plus account you can make sure all those videos go to your channel! If you want to use Google Hangouts as a way to do a whole class to class communication or for inviting guest speakers virtually in the classroom, then younger students will be able to safely take part. However, for the tips below I recommend students be 13+, which is the age students can legally have an individual Google Plus account (you need this for Hangouts). Below is a slide presentation (download for free) of some of my favorite tips, apps, and resources to help you get your students on Google Hangouts.

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  • Remember to record the Hangout session, choose Hangouts on Air, and if you just want video chat, then choose Video Hangout.
  • Once recorded, go to Youtube.com/editor to easily edit this!
  • Download the free Hangouts app available for iOS and Android.
  • Every video chat is better when students can get to know each other! Have them add their names with the Lower Third feature located in the Hangouts Toolbox app. Look at the slideshare for details.
  • You can screenshare and text chat with Hangouts. However, these features are best using the browser version versus the mobile app.
  • With chat, share clickable links and have a backchannel while the recording takes place. The chat does not get recorded in the video.
  • Have different roles for students- leader, reporter, note-taker, distributer! I have these descriptions in my book, Learning to Go. Only $5.99!
  • Have at least one student take notes on a Google Doc, since the chat does not record. I have this note-taking Google Doc for you to make a copy!
  • With the screenshare app, you can get students to peer edit papers, collaborate on a Google slide presentation, have a debate (they can share briefs and research to back up their stances), complete Google spreadsheets and more!
  • Empower your Hangout with add-on apps, such as the Scoot and Doodle, Soundation, Cacoo, Symphonical and Google Art Project! Check out the slides to see what each does!
  • You can also watch Youtube videos together and collaborate, but note this add-on unfortunately comes with a recommended playlist that does not always list appropriate videos for students to watch.
  • Your students will enjoy the Draw app to draw on each other’s avatars but this could lead to bullying so use this one with caution.
  • A better option is to have students dress themselves up with the Google Effects add-on. It’s
  • Connect with me on Google.com/+ShellySanchezTerrell for more tips and resources.
  • To discover more Google tips and tricks, follow #GAFE on Twitter.

Challenge: Try one of these Google Hangout tips to get your students collaborating in a fun way!


Find the tools listed above and many more resources in the bookmarks below:

Google Tools, by shellyterrell

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachersor my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


  1. Shelly – Thank you for sharing these timely tips for deploying Google Hangouts. I just found out this week that my university has bought licenses for all university faculty and students to have access to this Google app, and I have been wondering how to add it to my advanced oral skills courses. This blog post and slideshow have given me a few practical tips.


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