Google communities in the classroom
I joined two google communities: Teachers Helping Teachers and Teaching High School English Today. Both of these had hundreds of members, increasing the amount of input and resources shared on each page. I first explored the Teachers Helping Teachers community, where pages like "Discussion", "Free Stuff!" and "Resources" guide a new member to the right spot. There is a page for introductions and if you have a question to ask the other members, you can post it on the Discussion page, where others will respond to you to the best of their abilities. The wide variety of teachers and nationalities allows for great creativity and collaboration. Many members also post relevant articles or news for fellow members to peruse, stating how it might be useful. The best part of this community is the wide variety of pages available, invludeing one that is "New to Teaching" where new-ish teachers can post the problems they are having and ask for help from the community. It could be anything from increasing engagement to managing behavior or lesson ideas. The members of this google community were very encouraging and helpful.
The other community I decided to join was Teaching High School English Today. As a more focused community, the pages were more unique to teaching English, such as Old Texts Revisited, Reading, Writing and Grab Bag. I loved the abundance of infographics and inspiring posters posted to this community. Exploring the Grab Bag tab was very interesting, as it was full of links to articles about words changing meaning, and other interesting videos related to grammar and English. The Old Texts Revisited was mostly about Shakespeare and how to use it successfully in the classroom, getting students interested despite the language barrier. There was a link to a pop sonnets page, which I found really cool.
Using Google Communities in a classroom would be super easy. Secondary students could join the class community and post any questions or struggles they have with homework or projects, with peers reaching out to assist each other. Different pages could contain information or evidence of assignments or projects so that students can access all the information in one place. It could be like an interactive class website, where students not only access information but also contribute. Using google hangouts to connect with students outside of class would be a great way to build relationships while helping with an assignment.