Tech savvy media have been touting Google Hangouts as the best application to hold online meetings for whatever reason. Users enjoy the integration of audio, text, and video chatting and the integration with other Google Services, like Gmail contacts, Calendar, and Google Drive. It’s hard to argue with a tool that has seemingly no drawbacks, i.e. it’s free and it runs on all operating systems. For a clear example, Obama used Google+ for his planned virtual interactions with public.
With all this in mind, there is still a loyal user base for other web-based meeting applications. However, those loyal users are missing out on some serious opportunities for learning. Google Hangouts, in particular, are not just for private chats with loved ones or corporate conference calls. There are a multitude of public, open Hangouts that anyone can join to share or learn something new. Have a look to see if any of these Hangouts could become part of your lifelong learning adventure:
Language Practice Hangouts
Here you can find people who want to learn new languages from the people who actually speak them natively. The community already has thousands of members and dozens of sub-communities for specific languages. Check out their Google Calendar of events to find the suitable time for you to join other speakers in a discussion to boost your language skills.
Hangouts for the Aspiring Intellectuals
University of California Berkeley lectures are a prime example of an expanding Hangout niche encompassing academic lecture series. Their live video chats feature guest speakers and offer the opportunity for participants to ask questions.
The NASA Google+ page is heralded for the amazing photos it posts of intergalactic quality and content. NASA is also pushing to the max with its interactive use of Hangouts. They often hold live Hangouts covering everything from climate change to space travel, where participants can actually join panels or simply submit questions to have them answered on air.
Feel like your culinary skills need a boost? ChefHangout is the place to be whether you’re looking to learn new vegan or vegetarian dishes, how to roast a turkey, cook with autumn.
ingredients, or loads of other classes. This Hangout offers actual cooking classes with professionally trained chefs as teachers. You can learn to cook all of those dishes you’ve always dreamed of! What’s the catch? This is one of the few Hangouts that isn’t currently free, so expect to pay around $20 per course.
As many companies have already made life easier for themselves by switching to a hosted VoIP, where calls are delivered to and from phones and software clients over a broadband connection, there will continue to be new and mature developments in ways to get the most out of VoIP.
Not just through learning and efficiency, but also through fun. So if you’ve had enough learning for today, there are always more comedic, low-key Hangouts as well. You can find a place to play your favorite board game, like Cards Against Humanity for example, or to share you favorite jokes at the Hangout Comedy Club.
Photo Credit: Flickr/JNFerree