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Connecting Classrooms with Google


Connected classrooms are learning environments that extend beyond the classroom walls. Developments in technology mean that traditional obstacles such as distance, language and time zones can be overcome. Connected classrooms provide an opportunity for students to be exposed to real-life, authentic learning that begins in their own classroom but extends beyond for global collaboration. This global collaboration can provide authentic learning opportunities for students while developing their ability to work collaboratively with others, both locally as well as globally.

In this module you will learn how to:

  • create a Google+ account and use it to access communities and collections

  • explore resources from Google that assist with connecting classrooms including Google+, Google Hangouts, Virtual Field Trips, Expeditions and Google Arts and Culture.

Assumed knowledge

A basic understanding of Google Drive and Google Chrome is assumed. It is highly recommended that if you do not already have a good understanding of these you should complete the Getting Started With Google Drive and Getting Started With G Suite online modules before attempting this module.


To ensure satisfactory completion, you are required to complete all Try This activities included in the module. These are contained in blue text boxes throughout the module.

On finishing the module, an evaluation form will also need to be completed. In order to complete this form, you will be required to share a link to to a folder in Google Drive containing a Google Doc that demonstrates the activities that have been completed. Instructions explaining how to do this are provided within the module below. Please note that links shared with Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) staff for verification purposes will NOT be shared with any other individual or organisation.

Completion of the Try This activities and evaluation form will ensure that your Professional Learning hours are validated through My PL (IPLS). Credit for two hours of professional learning will be awarded to you following satisfactory completion of this course.

If this is the first CEM online module that you have completed, you will need to create a new folder in your Google Drive titled CEM Online Modules_Your name. Within this folder, you will need to create a new Google Doc and name it ConnectingClassrooms_Your name. If you are unsure about how to do this, please complete the Getting Started With Google Drive and Getting Started With G Suite online modules before proceeding further.

As part of the activities in this module, you may be required to take screenshots of your work. Read the instructions for taking a screenshot if you need assistance. Instructions for different operating systems are included.

Table Of Contents

  1. Section 1: Google+

Activity 1.1: Setting up a Google+ profile

Activity 1.2: People, Circles, Communities and Collections

Activity 1.3: Joining and collaborating within a Community

Activity 1.4: Creating a Community

Activity 1.5: Creating and sharing a Collection

  1. Section 2: Google Hangouts

Activity 2.1: The Google Hangouts interface

Activity 2.2: Using Chat Hangouts

Activity 2.3: Text chats

  1. Section 3: Virtual field trips and Google Expeditions

Activity 3.1: Download the app

  1. Section 4: Google Arts and Culture

Activity 4.1: Google Arts and Culture

  1. Overview of tasks covered

  2. Links and resources

  3. Evaluation

Section 1: Google+

Note to schools re: Google Plus
You may have heard whispers or seen reports that Google+ is shutting down. According to the information we have Google+ for consumers is now shutting down in April 2019. Google+ for Enterprise Customers which includes G Suite for Education is going to continue to be supported. "....we want to reiterate that we will continue to invest in Google+ for enterprise." - Extract from Googles Blog The Keyword 10/12/2018.

Google+ allows you to connect with others on the basis of shared interests using communities and collections with a view to improved collaboration.

In order to use Google+ users require a Google account and profile and must be over 13 years of age. Once a profile has been created, users can:

  • post and share content

  • create collections

  • follow people, communities and collections

  • create communities.

Google have created a Cheat Sheet to help new users.

Activity 1.1: Setting Up a Google+ profile

Note: Users must be aged 13 years or older to use Google+.

A Google+ profile includes information about you and any posts you have shared. It helps other people to know who you are and what you are interested in.

Access to Google+ must be turned on in the Google Admin console first by your school's G Suite administrator. In some cases, a profile may have already been created for you by your administrator. If not, you will need to complete the following steps to set up your profile.

Create Your Profile

  •  Sign in using your G Suite for Education account.

Update your profile

It is possible to modify or update your profile at any time.

In the main menu down the left-hand side of the page.

  • Click on Profile:

On the right-hand side of the main banner:

  • Click on Edit Profile:

From here it is possible to:

  • choose the Collections or Communities you would like to display on your page

  • type a tagline

  • click on the camera to add or change your profile or cover photo

  • click information to change your personal information:

Once you have updated your profile:

  • Click Save.
Update your personal information

To update your profile:

  • Select the section you wish to update.
  • Click Edit: .

If you can see an information icon then you cannot update that information yourself. You will need to speak to your school's G Suite administrator.

  • Click OK once you have updated your information.
Change Your Settings

In Google+ you have control over who can see your posts, who receives notifications and more. To review and modify your settings:

  • Select Settings from the main menu down the left side of your home page:

Your changes are automatically saved.

TRY THIS… Create your profile

  1. Open the Google document you created earlier called ConnectingClassrooms_Your name.

  2. Following the instructions above, create your Google+ profile (if you don’t already have one).

  3. Copy the link to your profile and post it in your Google Doc.

Activity 1.2: People, Circles, Communities and Collections

Finding People

Google+ allows you to connect with others who have similar interests or who match your background. If using a Google account that belongs to a domain, Google will find others in your domain you can connect with, facilitating connections and collaboration. To find people:

  • Click on People in the left menu.
Google may make suggestions for people you might wish to connect with or you can search for people:

The Search bar at the top of the page can be used to search for specific people:

To connect to someone suggested by Google or someone you find via a Search:

  • Click on Follow at the bottom of their profile summary or to the right of their profile banner:



Google+ uses Circles to help you organise your connections based on common interests and backgrounds. Creating a Circle allows you to share posts with those who might be interested.

Teachers could create a Circle for members of a department or a particular group of students. This can facilitate the running of online meetings. To create a Circle:

  • Click on People from the left menu
  • Select Following from the tabs at the top:

A list of any Circles already created will be displayed at the bottom of the page. To create a new Circle:

  • Click on New Circle at the bottom right:

  • Create a name for your Circle and click Create.

Once you have created a Circle, to gain access to the options available for each Circle:

  • Clicking on the Settings button to the right:

Adding People to a Circle
  • Click on People and then Find People.
  • From the list of suggestions, or by searching for specific people, click on the Follow label under the profile summary.
  • The Follow will change to Following.
  • Click on Following and a window will appear listing all of your Circles.
  • Tick the box next to the Circles you would like to add the person to:

People can be added to more than one Circle so click all the circles that apply. A notification is sent to the person letting them know they have been added but they are not able to see the name of the circle. They can also see all previous posts you added to that Circle before they were added.

Removing people from Circles
  • Click on People > Following and select the circle to be edited.
  • In the list that appears, click on the number of circles listed to the right of the person’s name:

  • In the window that appears, untick the box matching the circle you wish to remove that person from.
  • Click Done.
Finding and creating Communities and Collections

Communities are groups of people who have a common interest or cause. You can join Communities or create your own. Some Communities are public but others require you to ask to join. Communities can be used to share ideas and collaborate. Collections allow users to organise their posts as well as the posts of other Google+ users into categories. These collections can then be shared with others by making them public or they can be kept private.

Activity 1.3: Joining and collaborating within a community

Finding and creating Communities

Finding a Community
  • Click on Communities in the main menu on the left:

Three tabs are visible at the the top of the page:

Google provides recommendations for communities you may wish to join based on your previous activity in Google+. These are listed under the Recommended tab.

Communities you are already a member of are listed under the Member tab while communities you have created are found under Yours.

In the search bar at the top of the page:

  • Enter the type of Community you would like to find.
  • A list of results will appear.
  • To see the Community’s page, click on the name of the Community.
  • Click on the Join button if you want to become a member of that Community.
  • If the Community is private you will need to ask to join first and wait for approval from the creator of the page.
Leaving a Community

If you decide to leave a community:

  • Click on the More Actions button at the top left of the Community page
  • Select Leave community:

TRY THIS… Join a Community

  1. Open the Google document you created earlier called ConnectingClassrooms_Your name.

  2. Search Google+ for a Community that you think might help your teaching and that you would like to join.

  3. Join the Community.

  4. Post a link to the Community in your Google Doc.

  5. Take a screenshot of the left column of the Community’s front page showing you are a member.

  6. Insert the screenshot into your Google Doc after the link to the Community.

Activity 1.4: Creating a Community

Creating a community

To create a new Community:

  • Click on the Yours tab
  • Click on Create a community:

In the window that appears:

  • Name the Community and decide what options you would like from those available to you:

  • Click Done.
Invite people to your Community

From the menu on the left:

  • Click Communities.
  • Select Yours.
  • Click on the Community you want to share.
  • Click on the Share button in the top left corner:

In the window that appears:

  • Add your message in the ‘What’s new with you?’ field explaining what your community is and why people might want to join.
  • Select the people you would like to invite from Google+ users, others in your circles or using email addresses:

  • Click Done.
An email will be sent to the people you have selected notifying them and asking for a response to your invitation.
  • Click Post.

Community invite link
You can also add people to your Google+ community using the Community invite link. To do this:

  • Open the Invite menu in Google+

  • Turn on the Allow invites by link option

  • Copy the link provided and share it with anyone you would like to invite to your community.

Activity 1.5: Creating and sharing a Collection

Finding and creating a Collection

Finding a Collection
  • Click Discover in the main menu:

  • At the top of the page is a series of subjects that apply to different communities and collections:
  • When you click on one of the subjects, a new page will open with lists of collections and communities for this subject:
  • Under Follow Collections if you find a collection you are interested in, click the Follow link attached to it.
  • When you go to your Profile, click View All next to Communities and Collections. You will notice that the collection will be listed under Followed Collections;
Creating a Collection

From the main menu:

  • Click on Profile:
  • Click on View All to the right of Communities and Collections:

  • Under the Collections owned section click on Create a Collection:
  • Name the Collection and decide who you want to be able to view it. You can also add a Tag line to describe your Collection:
  • Click the Create button at the bottom right to add to the Collection.
  • You can add text where it says 'What's news with you?' and by clicking on the appropriate icon at the bottom of the page, add a photo, link, create a poll or share your location:

  • Click the three horizontal dots at the top right of the post to disable comments or resharing if needed.
  • Click Post.
  • To add posts from other people to your collection, click the Share icon at the bottom of the post and then select the destination link next to your name in the window that opens:

  • Click See More to show a list of your collections, communities and circles:

  • Click the collection you want to add this post to
  • Add your thoughts to the post and click Post.
Any Collections you are following will be listed under the Following tab. If there are no featured Collections that match what you are looking for:
Customising a Collection

To open the required Collection:

  • Click on Profile from the main menu
  • Click on the required Collection to open it.
  • Click on the More Actions button at the top and select from the options that appear in the new window:

To change the photo:

  • Click Edit Collection
  • Click on the Camera icon just above the Collection title: 

Photos can be selected from your Google photo library, your computer or from those provided by Google.The banner colour can be selected from below the Collection title:

  • Click Save at the top of the window when finished.

TRY THIS… Follow a Collection

  1. Open the Google document you created earlier called ConnectingClassrooms_Your name.

  2. Search Google+ for a Collection you think you would like to follow.

  3. Follow the Collection.

  4. Post a link to the Collection in your Google Doc.

Post and share content

Posts can be made in Collections and communities or from your home page.

At the bottom of the page you wish to post on.

  • Click on the Edit icon .
  • Type your post.
To add photos, links, polls and locations to posts:
  • Click on the relevant icon.
  • Click on the blue text next to your name in a post to change the intended audience:

Comment on posts

To reply to a post (either your own or someone else’s):

  • Scroll to the bottom of the comments section and type your post:

Edit or delete posts

Once a post has been posted a number of options are available:

To edit a post:

  • Click on the More Actions button at the top right .

From the new window that appears:

  • Select Edit post:

  • Click Save:

To delete the post:

  • Click the More Actions button .
  • Select Delete.
You will be asked if you are sure you want to delete the post:
  • Click Delete.

TRY THIS… Comment in a Community

  1. Following the instructions above, post a comment or question on the page of a Community you have joined or on your own page.

  2. Monitor your post for the next few days to see if you get any replies.

  3. Take a screenshot of your post and insert it into your Google Doc.

Section 2: Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communication platform that allows users to chat, make video calls and even call normal phones. It is a cloud-based G-Suite product fully integrated with products like Gmail and Google+. There are currently a number of changes being made to Google’s communication products including Hangouts. Please refer to the links at the end of this module for the latest information regarding these.

Google Hangouts allows conversations between up to fifty people and can be accessed online via Gmail or Google+ websites or through mobile apps for phones. Chat histories are saved online and are synced between devices.

Activity 2.1: The Google Hangouts interface

Go to the Google Hangouts home page. In the middle of the page you will see three buttons:

  • Video Callclick here to make a video call

  • Phone Callclick here to ring a mobile phone or landline

  • Messageclick here to start a text-based conversation

Down the left hand side of the page the main menu option is at the top:


The main menu gives access to contacts, conversations, phone calls, apps to download and more:

To find other users to contact:

  • Select the Contacts button, the most recent contacts are listed first.

  • Click on a contact’s name to open a Hangouts text window in the bottom right of the Hangouts window.

To access more choices for each user:

  • Select  the More Options icon to the right of a contact.

At the top of the window that opens is a search bar.

To bring up a list of the most recent Hangouts:

  • Select the Conversation icon:

To ring a mobile phone or landline:

  • Click on the Phone icon

  • Use the Search bar to search for names or numbers .

  • Select from a list of contacts or add a new phone number by typing it in the search bar at the top of the window that opens. Select the country code and if necessary, add credit in the top right corner if needed (some calls may require payment):


The More Actions icon at the bottom provides access to the main menu items:

Activity 2.2: Using Hangouts Chat 

Hangouts is always available as long as you are signed into your Gmail account. It can be accessed from the left menu in Gmail:

It can also be accessed from the App Launcher from within Google Drive:

Activity 2.3: Text chats

Text chats can be used for quickly sending direct messages to contacts or even for longer conversations. They can include emojis, images and videos. There are no per message charges and no limits to the length of your messages. All text chats are saved and synced across all your devices.

To start a text chat with someone in your list:

  • Click on their name and a text Hangout window will appear

  • At the bottom of the window, type your message. You can also turn the chat history on/off, upload a file to share, share a Google Drive file, start a video chat or add an emoji:

You will be notified of new messages by a chime sound and the title bar of the chat window will turn to green. Gmail will also flash the name of the person who sent the message as well as show a snippet of the message.

Inviting multiple people to Hangouts

To invite multiple people to a Hangout:

  • Go to your conversations list and click on the Find people, rooms and bots button:

You can

  • Message a group
  • Message a bot
  • Create a room
  • Browse rooms you have already been invited to:

TRY THIS… Get some help with Hangouts

  1. Open the Google document you created earlier called ConnectingClassrooms_Your name.

  2. Search YouTube for a video explaining how to use Google Hangouts in the classroom.

  3. Copy the link to the video and add it to your Google Doc.

Section 3: Virtual field trips and Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions allows teachers to take students on virtual field trips using virtual reality (VR) technology. VR uses a computer or other device to simulate the user being immersed in a range of different environments. You could use the technology in your classroom to take your students to various locations around the world, under water and into outer space. Mashable explains VR technology in a short video:

YouTube Video

Google Expeditions are created from 360° panoramas and 3D images that are annotated with information and questions for teachers to use in the classroom. Using Google Expeditions in the classroom requires some equipment: a phone and a cardboard viewer at the most basic level. Teachers can decide on the location to be visited and can control the view but students are free to move their heads around to see different aspects of the location.

Google has produced a short video introducing Google Expeditions:

YouTube Video

Activity 3.1: Download the app

The Google Expeditions app must first be downloaded from the Apple App store or the Google Play store. The app must be installed on each device to be used and is the same for both students and teachers.

Select the mode

Once downloaded, users need to select Guide (teacher) mode or Explorer (student) mode. Google recommends a tablet for the teacher (or guide) and phones with cardboard viewers for students. A guide for creating your own viewers has been published but kits can also be purchased.

Once Guide mode has been selected you can then add student devices. These must be on the same Wi-Fi network. It is suggested that Expeditions runs its own Wi-Fi network. Once teachers have downloaded the expedition the Internet is not required. It is possible to use an old router for this purpose.

Try a demo

The Google Expeditions app includes some demo expeditions that can be accessed in the app by clicking on See What It’s Like. Hundreds of expeditions can be downloaded. New Expeditions are  being added frequently. To help teachers find suitable Expeditions, a searchable map providing available expeditions has been produced by Mr Caffrey.

Leading an expedition

  • Open the Expedition app and tap Guide or Explorer at the top of the screen.

Your role can be changed within the app if needed.

  • To be a guide you will need to tap Lead.

  • Check that your students are connected to the Wi-Fi network.

The number of students connected to your expedition is given next to People at the top of the screen. If you need to add students tap Connect Explorers or People.

    • Open a downloaded Expedition or browse to find a new one.

    • Scroll left and right to pick a scene in the Expedition.

    • Tap play .

    • Swipe from the bottom for notes, questions, or other information.

    • Points of interest can be selected in the scene description.

    These are objects in a scene that you may want to discuss with your students. The creators of each Expedition have already added points of interest with a description. If you tap on these your students will see arrows guiding them to the point of interest on their screen.

    • To create your own point of interest within a scene tap and hold on the area you want your students to see.

    The point of interest icon will appear and students will see arrows pointing to the location.

    • Points of interest can be removed by tapping the icon. The icon will disappear and students will no longer see the arrows.

    • Teachers can scroll through the names of other scenes but these cannot be viewed until clicked on. Clicking on a new scene will change the screen for your students also.

    • You can pause a scene to allow discussion by tapping the pause button . This will freeze the screen for students and they will see the message ‘Paused by teacher’.

    • Tap play to start the scene again.

    To finish the Expedition click on the button at the top of the screen.

Join an expedition

To join an expedition that is in progress:

  • Open the Expeditions App and tap Follow.
  • Find the expedition that has been started by the guide and tap Follow.
  • Place the phone in a viewer.
  • Move your head to view the scene.
Teacher notes

Teacher notes are available for Expeditions and can be accessed while showing the location to the students.

TRY THIS… Download an expedition

  1. Using a phone, download the Expeditions app.

  2. Find a suitable Expedition to show your students.

  3. If you have access to a cardboard viewer browse the Expedition and the teacher notes that are available.

  4. Include a link to the expedition in your Google Doc and write a brief summary of what is offered.

Section 4: Google Arts and Culture

Google Arts and Culture (formerly known as the Google Art Project and then the Google Cultural Institute) is an offering from Google providing high-resolution images of artwork from around the world. Users are able to ‘walk through’ museums, art galleries and more using Google’s StreetView technology. Educational tools have also been added as well as a wide range of historical collections.

Activity 4.1: Google Arts and Culture

TRY THIS… Google Arts and Culture

  1. Go to Google Arts and Culture.

  2. Search for Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. Explore the resources available. Scroll to the bottom and explore the Streetview resource.

  1. Search for Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ painting. Try zooming in on the painting as far as you can.

  1. Search Historical Events and search for events around 1940. Select a specific collection from this time to explore further.

  2. Open the Google Doc you created earlier and type the heading ‘Google Arts and Culture’ and then complete the following:

    1. Select an upcoming unit of work and select a resource that could be used to support students undertaking this unit. Provide a link to the resource and explain how the resource could be used.

    2. Select a tour available on the site that has not been mentioned above. Provide a link to the tour and write a brief description about what is offered.

Overview of tasks covered

Here is an overview of the tasks covered in this module:



Try This Tasks



  1. Join a Community

  2. Follow a Collection

  3. Comment in a Community


Google Hangouts

  1. Get some help with Google Hangouts


Virtual field trips and Expeditions

  1. Download an expedition


Google Arts and Culture

  1. Google Arts and Culture

Links and resources


Congratulations on completing the Connecting Classrooms module! Please complete the evaluation form below. This will ensure that Professional Learning hours are validated through My PL (IPLS).

You are now invited to join our Google+ community G Suite for Education - CEV Schools. The community is a place to connect, share learning and build knowledge. Click on the link and send us a request to join so you can get started.

Connecting Classrooms Module Evaluation

This course was last updated on 14/01/19. Google regularly updates their products. Please refer to the following links for the latest information on G Suite updates:

https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com/ or https://blog.google/topics/education/

or https://gsuite.google.com/whatsnew/product-updates.

Further training is also available as follows:

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