Edublogs webinar overview – big brother (Google)!


In this recorded session we took a look at the recent changes in Google privacy policy. A current issue of interest to most educators who are online because the majority of us use Google applications and also we often recommend them to our students.

The Session

We started with the usual “where are we coming from” on the topic – taking a quick look at whether and which Google products we use and at our awareness of the privacy policy changes.

Next we took a closer look at some of the changes. We raised concerns and looked at some of the possible impacts.

Then came the interesting bit!

I asked participants to take a look at their own Google Dashboard and particularly their Web History. Everyone explored, made changes and shared thoughts about the amount and type of information and the sometimes worrying preditions/assumptions made by the algorithms. After the Dashboard  everyone accessed the Ad Preferences where it is possible to make some changes to the way Google targets you with advertising.

We finished with some feedback and a look at our best takeaways from the session.


I enjoyed this session although I felt that I talked too much! I found it interesting to get the perspectives of others on the policy changes and planning the session made me dig a little deeper than I might otherwise have done. We all find the advertising annoying but as someone said in the session this is how Google makes money and is able to provide all the apps we like so much!

I also realised that I am getting better at what used to feel like worrying silences – those that occur when people are exploring something and changing settings.

Next Webinar

Our next session will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday March 15th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday March 16th at 7am West Aus, mid morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues” for our poll on the topic.

Edublogs Serendipity webinar overview – Google+ playtime


This session gave us all some exciting Serendipitous learning. We actually over-ran by a very long time because as we neared the end of the scheduled session we decided to try a Google+ hangout. So the recording is rather longer than usual!

The Session

Naturally with the very recent release of Google+ beta this was one of the proposed topics for the session and came out the clear winner in the poll for our topic.

We started with a quick poll on who was currently experimenting with Google+ We found that only two of us in the session and a third – temporarily away but tweeting until he rejoined the session were currently exploring G+

We started with a whiteboard for thought and ideas but soon moved to Application sharing using my Google+ page as the stimulus to discuss what we knew of the functions and features. As those of us already using G+ talked about our experiences to date and tried to answer questions from those as yet to join we also sent invitations to the others so that they could join.


The discussion moved on through sharing information about how circles work and then on into hangouts. We were all keen to try a hangout and after a bit of time spent and trial and error – mainly due to the fact that several of us were still in the joining up process, those of us still in the session were able to join the hangout successfully. I kept my Elluminate microphone live until all of us were in the hangout, where the discussion continued as we played with some of the features.

I hope that some of the others in the group will add their comments to this post about their impressions of how the session as a whole worked and also their thoughts about Google+


This was a very exciting session to be part of. I always find sessions where we are not only in an Elluminate room but also use a second application where we can communicate as a group (as we have done in the past with GoogleDocs) to be particularly fascinating. I think with a little careful planning around managing the audio we could successfully integrate a Google hangout and an Elluminate session which could have advantages for viewing videos and perhaps for other purposes.

Our Next Session

FineFocusSmallOur next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus” session. This week (as a spinoff  from a number of recent questions raised about playing videos in virtual sessions) Phil will be showing us how to adjust videos so that they are less bandwidth hungry and looking at some of the resulting “trade-offs”  in ” Is this video worth watchingvirtually?”   Join us on Thursday July 28th at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning in Australia – in the usual Elluminate room