Google, give us a Wave!

Google WaveSo along with the world and his dog, I’m writing about my initial thoughts about Google’s new service, Google Wave.

It’s only Google Wave Day 2 at the moment so the main themes running around the Twitterverse is people bemoaning the service and saying it’s too disorganised and didn’t live up to the hype … but things rarely live up to the level of hype that Google Wave generated.

Like anything on the internet, etiquette will form which will help to shape good practice for Google Wave.  The problem is that at the moment people are ‘Waving’ with anyone and don’t have a purpose to their Wave so it degenrates into utter chaos.  For an example of this, see the image below which is a small sample of the “Wave to all the educators” conversation.

Google Wave example

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So when does it become useful?

Remember that Wave is currently only a platform, there are some amazing extensions and bots being developed at the moment that will really showcase it to the best of its ability and change public perspective from a glorified chat client.

Google Wave VideoThere is a Google Wave intro video with Steph and Greg that showcases an outstanding example of taking a Wave and bringing a ‘bot’ in that publishes the Wave onto the Blogger platform.  The clever thing is that when someone comments on the blog, this is embedded into the original wave.  Unfortunately there are no such plugins for WordPress as yet but I can’t see it being too long before they turn up.

They also showcase a ‘bot’ that translates the Blip (a Wave is made up of multiple Blips) into another language ‘on-the-fly’ which also looks great.

Another clever little ‘bot’ is the Wolfram Alpha bot which performs calculations for you as you type them.

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So how can this be used in the classroom

It currently seems like the etiquette isn’t there yet to allow loads of students to be in the classroom collaborating on a document in real time but it certainly could work for asynchronous (or semi-asynchronous if that could be) collaboration on documents or synchronous collaboration between schools in different locations.

I could see students getting together to collaborate on homework and the link to blogs will certainly bring a new dimension to those using Google’s Blogger platform.

I really don’t think we’ll see the big ideas emerging until the invite pool is much larger or Google Wave is enabled on Google Apps for Education domains as then we’ll be able to tell what is practical with large numbers of users who are connected in some way.

If you have any ideas for the classroom then email me at stuart.ridout [at] gmail.com
… or if you’re a Waver then ping stuart.ridout [at] googlewave.com

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