Thursday, October 1, 2009

Google Wave Will Revolutionize Online Classroom Instruction

I just got my invite for Google Wave this morning and am really excited, but since I don't have anyone to work with yet, it's sort of just sitting there...

Google Wave Will Revolutionize Online Classroom Instruction: "


Today is the day. Thousands of new users will be presented with the opportunity to get their hands on Google Wave.

What is Google Wave?

Google Wave is a brand new technology that positions itself  as the way Email would have been made if it were invented today. (Watch the 1:20:12 long video clip)

Imagine a combination between Email, IM, Twitter, Facebook, and Skype all bundled into one. Now imagine it being drag-and-drop easy, live-updated, and being constantly improved. Then throw on top of that an eager community of developers seeking ways to make it even easier to use and more powerful.

Cool, but what does it look like?

I haven’t gotten my invitation yet, but am eagerly awaiting one soon. Lifehacker has a great Google Wave First Look that they posted today. It has some really cool pictures that help you get a better idea of what’s going on. Back when it was announced on May 28th, Mashable posted Google Wave: A Complete Guide.

And how could it be used in my classroom?

Here are some of the uses I can see

  • Replace wikis

    I know a lot of teachers out there use wikis, and they are useful. I like the functionality that they pose, but I also know there are some challenges they have. One nice feature of Google Wave is that it allows a combination of public as well as private communication within a wave.

  • Playback

    Ever been absent during an extended group project? Wonder what you missed? The playback function of Google Wave is amazing in that it allows you to see step-by-step what has happened in the development of the wave. This can also come in handy for the teacher to see how well groups are working together and how much participation is going on.

  • Group work

    One of the huge advantages to Google Wave is that each person in the wave can edit things at the same time. We’ve all been in groups where one person writes, another person thinks, and the other people sleep. I also remember some group work on computers where so much time was wasted trying to find the right font. What if Font girl is responsible for making it look pretty, smart guy is responsible for doing research, and keyboarding goober is responsible for typing it all in? Everyone could be assigned a specific role and work on the same project together.

  • Teacher involvement

    The way I see it, each group would be set up by the teacher and each wave would include the teacher as well as the students in the group. One reason I didn’t like group work when I was in school was because I either did way more or way less work than the other people in the group. If an individual student has a complaint for the teacher, he can simply private message the teacher, explain the problem, and then the teacher can view the playback and see that the other students may not be working as hard. Tattling has never been this simple!

  • Publishing (Embedding)

    After a project is completed, it can be embedded into a website or Facebook group page or something. Yes, there are even plugins to embed waves into blog posts (at least for WordPress and Blogger).

So needless to say, I am excited about this new project and looking forward to seeing how I can use it both personally as well as in my teaching. It won’t be an overnight transformation, and I don’t see email being abolished completely, but I do see it as a pivotal point in the development of online communications.

How do others see Google Wave impacting education?

I thought I would do a quick blog search to see what other people are talking on this subject:

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