Introducing Google Spaces

Google Spaces

A few quick thoughts on Spaces in Education

Earlier today Google announced a new product called Spaces via their Blog Page. Looking at the app off the bat, what comes to mind is a mini version of the Google Plus item Communities. What I love about Spaces is how they are hyper-focused on a specific topic allowing you and a small group to collect and discuss related information. Google is looking at Spaces with this goal in mind:

” … get people together instantly to share around any topic.”Google Blog

This immediately got me thinking about ways a tool like this could fit into Education. Often in classrooms we see group projects where a handful of students will be working on a research paper or group presentation. We currently E-mail links, put them into a Doc or use a variety of other tools to keep track of these resources and it always seems like we can never find a great way to organize this content. That is where I feel Spaces fits really well. While not as full-fledged as using a Community or Google Group, there are times where all we need is an organize way to compile similar items together for a short period of time. This can be images, links comments and even content from Youtube. Think of a professional presentation you may be doing or a class report – how nice would it be to easily collaborate with everyone at once and have all the related material in one space?

Another great aspect is the way content is organized. If you are familiar with Classroom or Communities you’ll find the UI right at home.

The “Stream” view in Spaces is where you will see a small card for each item with a preview of the content as well as a list of any comments associated. If this were to be an article on a topic, responses could be students discussing the validity of the source to determine if it should be trusted, or if it is worthwhile to include.

Similar to Classroom, each Space is represented as a card with a title, number of members and avatars of the members of the Space. When comments begin to run long, the replies are condensed to make the display more clean.

With so many people using mobile devices and a variety of content possibilities (I’m an iPhone user) the ability to share INTO Spaces is huge. That means I can share a Tweet, iMovie, Explain Everything, iMove, Notability Note, etc from my device. This really allows the potential sources to really be limitless.

Finally, I’m a big fan of these being aimed to be temporary. When working on a paper, or project on state capitals once that project is done, being able to delete the space means I’m done with that project.

This is where I feel Spaces is set apart from a Community, a Classroom, a Doc, etc. Once a project is done, the space is deleted and it is gone. Trying to use a Community for a short term project just never feels right. A Google Group can be overkill. A shared document probably lingers well past once it is done but a Space had a great fit as a temporary location.

That’s my take on Spaces so far – how about yours?

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