Google Hangouts “On-Air”

I recently presented multiple sessions at a Google professional development workshop (a.k.a. GAFE Peak). At the same time I decided to try something new, something that was outside of my comfort zone: a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ of my PD session.

A Hangout is Google’s version of a video conference, although you can do more with the service like screen sharing, comments, and more. The ‘On-Air’ component enhances the hangout so that your live broadcast is recorded and then archived to your YouTube Channel automatically. In this way people could attend your session virtually. In my case, workshop attendees didn’t have to choose one session over another. Instead, they were able to attend one session “in-person” and then watch a transcript of another session later on.

A couple of things that you need to consider when presenting via an On-Air Hangout:

  • Before starting your Hangout, keep your audience in mind when deciding whether to turn on/off Q&A, the Showcase app, and the Applause feature. The more apps/services you turn on, the more screen real estate you use up.


  • Choose how you want to share your screen.
  • Remember to click the “Broadcast” button. Only three out of my four sessions were broadcast live and then archived to YouTube because…I forgot to click the button.
  • If a ‘live’ audience member asks a question, repeat the question to ensure that your virtual audience will hear it.

Hangouts help to convey not only the content but also the comments, questions, and debates that often take place during a lesson. The idea that we now have the technology and tools so that anyone can present to a virtual audience without having to purchase expensive equipment and/or services has great potential for the sharing and reflecting stages of learning. So, if you haven’t tried presenting or teaching via Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ might I suggest that you take that step outside of your comfort zone and give it a try.



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