Waiting for the Wave

Image Source: http://content.zdnet.com
Image Source: http://content.zdnet.com

The Google Wave that is.

That’s what I heard many of the new Google Certified Teachers (GTCs) whispering to each other this past Wednesday at the Google Teacher Academy in Boulder, Colorado.

In late May, on the Official Google Blog, Google announced that Google Wave was available to developers to tinker with and that you could sign up for an e-mail alert for Wave’s public launch later this year. (According to TechCrunch, the first 100,000 invites go out on September 30th.)

So, let me explain, in simple terms a little bit about what Google Wave is. It’s about conversation.

There are three key technologies in Google Wave that will make this communication tool more collaborative and efficient than e-mail of the past:

  1. Live collaborative editing means that you see the people in the conversation typing in real-time. (Think of Skype, SMS or other chat programs where you wait for the person to hit enter before you see what they have written.) By the way, this can be with more than one person at a time. So if there are six people in the Wave, you can see anyone who is typing in the conversation. They can also send you a private message.
  2. Natural Language Tools enable you to focus on what you are typing and not worry about any mistakes you might type. Google’s philosophy behind this new technology is that you should be able to type about 5% faster. Google looks at millions of web pages to see statistically how people use language in practice. This works much different than the red and green squiggly lines in a word processing program. Since Wave is web hosted,  it doesn’t matter whether you are on your Smart Phone, laptop or desktop, you will receive these recommendations for grammar and spelling. These language tools will continue improving as we all continue using the web.
  3. Embedding means that you can get the code (html) for your Wave and put it on your website, wiki or blog. You can also add gadgets to your Wave as you would to your iGoogle page.
Image Source http://4.bp.blogspot.com
Image Source http://4.bp.blogspot.com

So, here’s the big question? What are the implications for educators and students?

Don’t let the technical stuff behind Google Wave get you. This is going to be cool. Though I don’t think that it is going to be added to Google Apps Education Edition anytime soon, I do think that Google Wave may just be the answer for those educators that get e-mail, but don’t quite get Google Docs yet.

This mashup of e-mail, IM, pictures, video, maps, maybe a little bit of a Twitter-like app will allow administrators, teachers, parents, even some students to be better communicate with each other. The conversation will be more collaborative when necessary. With Google Wave you can go back and play the Wave again (which many of us need).   This may just be what we’ve all been looking for.

Resources:

Google Wave Developer Blog
http://googlewavedev.blogspot.com/

The Official Google Blog
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/went-walkabout-brought-back-google-wave.html

ZD Net: Meet Google Wave
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=18817&tag=rbxccnbzd1

TechCrunch: Google Wave Drips with Ambition
http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/28/google-wave-drips-with-ambition-can-it-fulfill-googles-grand-web-vision/

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6 thoughts on “Waiting for the Wave

  1. Having people see what I type before hitting enter is something to get used to. I type things all the time online and then change my mind or edit before sending. I’ve done it twice in this response already. My fear is that this is going to take make it difficult to instill that “think before you respond” type reticence in our students. I’ll have to follow my own advice and try it and see. I guess playback will contain the teachable moments. Thanks for the summary.

    1. @Lindsey – There is a feature that allows your entry not to appear until you are finished typing. But the default is for it to appear in real-time.
      I agree that it would be something to adjust too.

      @Paul – At this point in time I can not imagine the end of Twitter. But, I assume, something will take it’s place, and quite possibly, it could be Google Wave.

      I know for me, I am trying to get away from e-mail as the entries are too long and time consuming. I prefer the shorter, more succinct pieces of communication in Twitter and SMS.

      Thank you both for your comments.

  2. I had to admit that I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get a sneak peak at Wave at GTACO. I guess I’ll have to wait along with everyone else! Wave does appear to have promising features for the classroom. I’m excited to try it out!

    1. Can you imagine having added one more thing into the day John? I can’t! But I am looking forward to Wave’s official release. I’m hoping that it happens just before a long weekend.

      Thanks for your comment. –Lisa

  3. I agree with everything above. I recently found a website that I think is great for teachers, http://applebatch.com. Applebatch teacher community is a place where teachers can come together and learn all about new technologies and teach others how to use them as well.

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