I just wrapped up my first Hangout On Air which was the new environment I’m using for my monthly online VoiceThread office hour.  The archive of the Hangout is embedded below if you’d like to view it and learn!  It was fun!

The Event in Review
I was joined by 4-9 colleagues (the number varied throughout the hour) which was a great number for the group.  The flow of the video could certainly have been smoother and I hit some very rocky experiences with the screenshare function which was too bad but the conversation was great.  
I am reflecting now on how great it felt to be joined by so many educators who have successfully completed my Building Online Community with Social Media class (offered through @One).  In that class, college professors are introduced to the key tenets of online community and learn how elements like social presence, collaboration, and personalized learning contribute to breaking down a learner’s isolation in online classes.  In the class, students learn to effectively scaffold and support a student’s affective learning with VoiceThread, and other social media-related tools, by participating in our own learning activities. Then then they create their own VoiceThread activity at the end of the class which fosters their social presence and demonstrates their ability to develop a collaborative learning activity.  
It warms my heart to reconnect with so many of you — sorry, I’m getting mushy here but it really is a nice feeling — and see so many of you continue to be tirelessly dedicated to exploring new ways to meet the needs of your students, in the face of our crummy budget mess and the lack of support you find around you.  
Pedagogically, our conversations flowed from how to have students share student-generated VoiceThreads with an instructor and then with an entire class to comparing VoiceThread to a discussion forum, and reflecting on how to use VoiceThread in conjunction with other assessment tools (like blogs, traditional assessments, papers, etc.) to scaffold learning up through the highest levels of critical thinking.   
Next Month
I’ll be making a separate blog post in the coming weeks about the day/time of my September Hangout on Air but if you’d like to plan to join us, I urge you to click here and add me to your Circles on Google+.  This is the only way you’ll have the option to join and participate in the Hangout (see option one below).

I am taking suggestions about what the topic should be for the September Hangout On Air — please share your idea in the form of a comment on my blog or reach me on Twitter @brocansky. Thanks!

Also, I am interested in being crystal clear about the fact that you have ways to access each Hangout on Air.  I know this is new to most of us so feel free to leave a comment here if you have a question and I’ll do my best to answer it.  
  1. Option 1: Join and participate in the the Hangout on Air from Google+.  If you join this way, the system’s default is to display your presence via your webcam.  After you have joined, you will have the option to turn off your webcam and participate via audio only or you may also participate via text chat if that’s your preference.  Of course, I encourage video participate when it’s possible and meets your needs.  There are seats for up to 10 participants (including me).
  2. Option 2: View the live stream on the Hangout page of my blog.  Each time I launch a Hangout on Air, I will embed the video stream here for live viewers to access it. The archive of the video will remain there until the new Hangout on Air occurs. Moving forward, I’ll be establishing a method of storing all the links too. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide live or delayed captioning the Hangouts nor the archives.

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