Google Spaces is a new 'product' from Google...so new in fact that it was released about 17 hours ago (from time of writing). Having got our hands on the beta (its an open beta, so anyone with a Google Apps for Education / Work account can try it) I have found it to be MINDBLOWING!
I will give you a quick overview...but the best way is to grab a copy for yourself today and give it a go!
Designed for small groups
Think of this app like a camp fire. Its designed for sharing of ideas, posts, thoughts, files, links with a small collection of people. Like chatting around a camp fire, the app is geared towards conversations on specific topics.
The app itself is cross platform, having native apps on both iOS and Android - its truly mobile. It means staff can be using any device and have instant access to conversations, resources and information that the small group is working on. I can see this being REALLY useful for Yar group teams, or subject specialists.
'Spaces' are basically areas within the app dedicated to specific topics, individuals can be invited into a closed space, or join open spaces freely. It means you could have a 'staff room' space, but also a 'Year 3 - Science' space.
Share anything, or stay on topic
The really sweet thing within Spaces is the ability to quickly share things with others from a device. I've noticed to share a web link for example from my phone, I would have to copy and paste links from one app to another, or try and share information from one app to another. Spaces allows instant sharing of info / ideas/ photos with little 'faff'. At the moment it feels like Spaces has cut down the steps to share...considerably!
It means there is a low bar for entry into the app - its REALLY easy and quick to get used to, so younger students or more hesitant staff will be able to quickly get up and running!
Leverage Google Search
As with the majority of Google Apps, Spaces utilises Google's search function. It seems at this point you can literally type any word into the search and it will trawl through the Spaces to find key words or phrases, users, or topics. It means you only have to remember part of the conversation to be able to recall it!
This app certainly has the potential to help teachers and leaders in schools. The big benefit of this over say, Hangouts / Messenger, is the ability to separate off topics and have a sharing platform for specific areas / departments / year groups.
The simplicity of the app and the ease of set up (you have to add the app in Google Apps for Education / Work - see below) along with being totally cross platform - means everyone has the same user experience, making the whole learning process REALLY quick!
I am going to be sending this out today to Headteachers and Senior staff at the schools I work with, and see how beneficial this can be!
Let us know your thoughts on Google Spaces. Is there anything else you would like top know? How have your teams started using it? Is there anything else out there that does this better?