Google Chat and Spaces
Google Chat is a school-managed service that allows employees and students in grades 6-12 to communicate via typed messaging. Designed for short, interactive exchanges, Chat is often faster and more convenient than email. Google Chat is an officially sanctioned chat app to be used between students and teachers. Like D-E email, all Google Chat content is recorded and stored in an electronic Vault for later administrative access if needed.
Access the Google Chat service using any web browser at chat.google.com.
Log in using your d-e.org Google account.
Send direct messages to any other d-e.org account user, message a small group of of people, or participate in a discussion chat room such as one for a class or a club. (A Google Chat room is called a Space.)
Google Chat is now also available in D-E's Gmail on the web and in the Gmail app on iPhone/iPad and Android. See access Chat in Gmail if you need help finding it.
What can you do with Google Chat? - according to Google
Spaces and Threads
You can join or create a Space (aka room) as an easy way to use Chat for a class or to converse with a group of colleagues, or to work on a team project. Spaces have the advantage of supporting multiple conversations/topics in the same space as separate "threads". You can reply to existing threads or start a new thread at any time. The thread with the most recent activity shows as the bottom of the space messages.
You can choose to get chat notifications whether you use Chat in Gmail via chat.google.com open in a web page tab or by using one of the standalone apps. You can easily turn notifications off or customize them as you prefer. For example, you can choose to get only notified when someone sends you a direct message as opposed to when messages are posted in a Space where you are a member. You can also choose which Spaces to actively follow. For more information on notifications:
Turn notifications on or off - How to enable/disable both email and push notifications/alerts for all messages or just for specific Spaces or topics (called Threads).
Temporarily stop notifications (Snooze notifications) - Disable all notifications on all devices with one step such as during a meeting, class, or your disconnected quiet time.
While going to the web page chat.google.com or accessing Chat from Gmail works fine, some prefer having a separate program for using Chat. It also allows you to get notifications, if desired, without needing to keep a Chrome/Safari tab open to chat.google.com. If you just want to access Chat via Gmail or the chat.google.com web page, you can skip this section.
Mobile apps for iPhone and Android and a standalone desktop/laptop program for Windows and Mac is available if you prefer that. The mobile app is convenient for reading or responding from a phone. You can also access chat via the Gmail app on iPhone/iPad or Android.
For the desktop/laptop program, you should be prompted to install it if you are running Chrome or can start the install in Chrome using the directions in the Google support article Install the Chat standalone app here.
A few people have reported not seeing those options. If you have that issue you can install the desktop program from this download page. On a Mac this is slightly more complicated than installing from Chrome above as you need to move the Chat app into your Applications folder. Here is a video demonstration - Install Hangout Chat desktop on Mac.
Google Chat Help Center - by Google