Archive for the 'Google Wave' Category

The inevitable ‘Death of Google Wave’ post

Wave breaker
Wave breaker
Originally uploaded by photosan0

Having written and presented a fair bit on Google Wave over the last year I couldn’t let the news that Google were pulling the plug pass without comment.

In the beginning …

It all started with such optimism back in May/June 2009 when I posted Google Wave – Opportunities for communication, collaboration and social learning in education. Like many others I perhaps focused too much on the real-time ‘almost character-by-character’ interaction, but I soon discovered that its possible strengths were more about how easily it was to embed waves in other sites and systems including VLEs (Black Wave: Embedding Google Wave (etherpad and mindmeister) into Blackboard, Black Wave 2: Blackboard Wave Integration!, Moodle Wave: Embedding Google Wave into Moodle). And also not forgetting the power of robots and gadgets (Educational Extensions (Robots and Gadgets) for Google Wave).

Malformed wave

Many commentators have expressed their opinion about where Google went wrong. For me it was perhaps a chicken and egg scenario. Google wanted to employ the community to develop the product with/for them, but they couldn’t open the doors to everyone. This meant the focus was the beta site, ignoring any integration with other Google products (notably Gmail and Docs). (I hope you are struck by the irony of being able to embed Waves in Blackboard but not Gmail).

The crest

The pinnacle of my work on Google Wave was perhaps my presentation at our JISC Winter Fayre in December 2009. Whilst my slides are available, we have no recording of the event which is a shame because I was on fire ;-), but my Google Wave 101 post mirrors the structure and content of my talk.

After the storm

In my humble opinion if Google truly believe in ‘doing no evil’ then they need to open source every single line of code and let the community decide the future of Wave.

Do I regret spending so much time on Wave? No! That’s what the RSC is here for, to invest time in researching emerging technologies and practices to disseminate to our supported institutions (Here is a collection of my Wave posts).

Google Wave Update: Latest Developments and New Applications

The post below originally appeared in RSC NewsFeed. I’m reposting to add to my Google Wave collection.

It has been noticeable that mentions of Google Wave have dropped off as the year has progressed. Whilst Google’s Buzz has been catching the headlines, the Wave Team are still quietly working away tweaking both the core code and functionality of this application. Two of the biggest changes have been the inclusion of  ‘read-only and restore’ and ‘email notifications’ features. [Editor: Another new feature not mentioned in this post is the new Extensions Link and Gallery]

Prior to this new feature all participants on a wave had read/write access. This meant that anyone viewing a wave could also edit it. Users had developed a workaround by adding an automated participant (a robot) to the wave which would freeze the wave from further editing but it was clear that this solution was a compromise.

This allows the user to restore the wave to a previous version via playback.

Email notification
Shortly after the official first outing of Google Wave there were a number of headlines describing it as an ‘email killer’. Email is so deeply embedded into our communication strategies it is very unlikely that Wave will replace email, instead it is more likely to be a symbiotic relationship. This is apparent in Wave’s latest feature, email notifications. This allows users to receive an email notification about new and updated waves. Some may see this as a retreat by Google away from their original intension to ‘reinvent email’ but I see it as a realistic response to the wider environment.

New application – ConceptDraw MindWave

Google Wave continues to be developed by third parties, a sign perhaps that users can see beyond the hyperbole. One of the most recent extensions is a gadget called ConceptDraw MindWave. This application allows users to collaboratively build mind maps within waves  which can then be downloaded to the desktop ConceptDraw MINDMAP software. View this link for a demonstration video and more information.

JISC Winter Fayre: Voting and Google Wave Presentations

Things have been quite on the blogging front as we dug out the tinsel to celebrate all things JISC at our Winter Fayre. We managed to squeeze almost 30 different keynotes, workshops and sessions into the day, including two by yours truly.

I had the honour of presenting a short overview of electronic voting present and future in ‘Ask the Audience’ and an opportunity to showcase, what has become a highly honed, Google Wave intro and overview.

I’ve attached both PowerPoints I used below which you are free to pick over and reuse if you like. Just to remind our supported institutions I am available for weddings, birthdays and staff development events (if you are not supported directly by us we are open to offers particularly if they require going to warmer climes ;)

[Both these presentations embed Flash into PowerPoint. To view when prompted you need to enable the content]

Ask The Audience *.ppt (3Mb)
Google Wave 101 *.ppt (1.4Mb)

Educational Extensions (Robots and Gadgets) for Google Wave

google_wave_logo_final640 I was creating an intermediate guide for staff exploring Google Wave and as part of it I’ve put together a list of Wave extensions which might be of use to educators. This list was taken from the Google Samples Gallery and a unofficial list of robots/gadgets. If you want to try these out to add a robot to a wave add it to your wave contacts (click ‘+’ button bottom right of the contacts panel) then add the robot address [email protected] Robots can then be added to a wave in the same way to add human contacts. To add gadgets I recommend following The Complete Guide to Google Wave - Wave Gadgets guide


  • watexy - [email protected] - Use LaTeX mathematical language in your Waves!
  • WaveAlpha - [email protected] - It empowers the user with the ability to query Wolfram Alpha’s Computational Knowledge Search Engine right from a “wavelet” and retrieve the results right into the “blip”.
  • Wikify - [email protected] - Replaces specific marked up text with a link to Wikipedia or a description relevant to the marked text.
  • Emaily Robot - [email protected] - Robot which can email waves as they are updated
  • Robot - [email protected] - Creates a drop and puts the info into the wave whenever the robot is added as a participant.
  • Rssybot - [email protected] - Turn google wave into an RSS reader! Add Rssybot to a thread, then enter the URL to the RSS feed you want watch and press subscribe. When a new post appears on the feed Rssybot will put it into the wave for you! Clicking on the post will expand the feed.
  • Tweety the Twitbot - [email protected] - You can access your Twitter account.
  • Aunt Rosie - [email protected] - Aunt Rosie will automatically insert a language drop down into your blip when you’ve typed enough for her to recognize your language. Select the language you’d like to translate to and she’ll reply with the translation.
  • Taggy - [email protected] - Recognize #hashtags and add them as tags to the wave.
  • Treeify - [email protected] - Treeify is a multi-wave robot which lets you connect waves into tree structures. With it you can build and navigate trees of waves
  • Invity - [email protected] - save all current participants of the wave as a named group. When you create a new wave and add Invity, you are able to select a group and Invity automatically adds all members to the wave
  • Graphy - [email protected] - Collaborate on flow charts and graphs.
  • Embeddy - [email protected] - Generates code to embed a wave in your webpage


If I’ve forgot any you think should be included please use the comments to make suggestions ;-)

Google Wave 101 (Presentations from Scottish VLE groups)

In the last couple of weeks I’ve given Google Wave presentations to the Scottish Blackboard User Group (Scot-BUG) and the Scottish Moodle User Group (SMUG). These have been designed to be introductory session Google Wave giving an overview of the technology and how it could be integrated into existing institutional systems like VLEs.

This post contains follows the narrative I used for the presentations with some additional thoughts and resources. Here is the  PowerPoint used for Scot-BUG and SMUG (some edits)

The Wave Model

Here’s a nice video from which gives a quick overview of Wave:

The basic message is email works for basic communication but when you do anything which potentially involves more than two people it can get complicated.

The Wave Interface

The current Wave interface is entirely browser based and you don’t need any additional plugin’s for basic functionality (for drag and drop of files you need Google Gear’s installed). The interface uses the latest HTML standards so you need to use either Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Already 3rd party developers are developing desktop systems and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was incorporated into Mozilla’s new communication application ‘Raindrop’.


The current interface uses a 3-column layout not too dissimilar to your standard email client. Working from left-to-right you have navigation/contacts, your inbox, and finally a message area. The interface currently has minimal customisation other than minimising some of the component areas.

Basic Wave Interaction

The following video from the Google Wave team shows how a wave is started and highlights the benefits of a ‘hosted conversation’, having one message which everyone can edit in real-time.


By hosting a single conversation on a central server it makes it very easy for additionally functionality to be incorporated by using robots and gadgets. Robots are pieces of code which can interact in the wave. They have the same level of control as a human participant, responding in real-time. Google Wave has a number of build in robots which include things like spell checking or even detecting web links or video resources (here is an example of spell correction).

When Google were developing Wave they wanted to make sure 3rd party developers had access to as much of the robot functionality as possible. They achieved this by providing developers with an API ( - an API is a set of commands which allows communication between separate programmes). An example of the power of robots is Google’s translation bot Rosy:

As well as robots the functionality of Wave can be extended using ‘gadgets’. Gadgets allow users to share interactions with objects like maps, whiteboards or even games like chess or Sudoku. The following clip shows some gadgets in action:

Even though Wave has only been available to developers since the end of May there are already a wealth of 3rd party robots and gadgets anyone can add to their wave (here is the most extensive list I’ve seen of robots). To see just how extendible wave is here are some examples of robots and gadgets which might be of interest to educators:

WaveAlpha Video
Wave Alpha
Robot: [email protected]
Description: Returns search results from Wolfram|Alpha. Video includes this results from Wolfram.
HelpMeIgor Video
Robot: [email protected]
Description: Citation robot – links with citeulike and others to help with the process of adding references.
Tweety Video
Robot: [email protected]
Description: Allows you to ‘tweet’ from wave (this robot talks to the Twitter API, building its own UI in the wave).
Gadget: 6rounds Gadget XML
Description: Video conferencing gadget.
MapGadget Video Title: Map Gadget
Gadget: Map Gadget XML
Description: Lets users edit maps together.
MindMapGadget Video
Mind Map Gadget
Gadget: Mind Map Gadget XML
Description: Collaborative creation and editing of mind maps.


So far the videos above have showed you how the functionality of Wave can be extended using robots and gadgets. Another aspect of Wave which supports its use in education is the ability to embed waves into other sites. Already on this blog I’ve shown examples of embedding waves in Blackboard and Moodle (See Black Wave: Embedding Google Wave into Blackboard and Moodle Wave: Embedding Google Wave into Moodle). Embedding waves not only allows users to see the discussion but they can also still interact and add content as if they were using the full wave client.

Why do I think embedding is an important feature? Firstly, I see Wave technology as a very easy way to add additional functionality to your VLE. Even just using a basic wave you immediately have a way to support real-time interaction, but more importantly this environment can be enriched very easily by extending its use with robots and gadgets. Secondly, utilising Wave potentially adds choice. Students can choose to participate in a wave embedded in the VLE, or the same wave in their Wave inbox, or even the same wave potentially embedded on their Facebook site. Personalisation is a powerful tool to facilitate engagement.

Wave embedded into Blackboard
Screenshot: Wave embedded into Blackboard


One of the issues when promoting 3rd party web services is the lack of control over backup, security or access. Understandable Quality Offices get particularly nervous if summative assessment is involved. As part  of the Wave project Google are developing an open protocol which will allow any institution to host their own Wave server. This puts control back in the hands of the institution.

Also just as email systems can send messages to different servers, the protocol will allow different Wave servers to communicate with each other allowing real-time collaboration across institutions. As I’ve already highlighted in a previous post you can already install a prototype server although its functionality is very limited, but achievable using open source applications.

Wave as a platform?
The ability to host your own Wave server opens an intriguing question. Could you use Wave technology as a web application platform? If the Ning’s or Facebook’s of this world were developing a social networking platform would it not make sense to build it on Wave technology?  You could wrap the site in an entirely different interface, using more traditional web building blogs for the majority of the site, incorporating wavelets to achieve different functionality. So for example when a user registers for the site a number of waves would be automatically generated and embedded within the page (status update, photo album etc.). The advantage is not only could these elements be embedded else where but the same real-time interaction would also still be available. Also not forgetting the wide range of robots and gadgets which could also be incorporated. So is Google Wave going to be the Apache server for the 21st century?

But …

This all presents some quite promising opportunities for Google Wave, but there are a number of issues to be resolved. Before I highlight some of these it is worth reiterating that Google Wave is still in development.

Internet Explorer/Backwards Compatibility – Possibly one of the biggest sticking points is the lack of support for IE8 and an unclear roadmap for IE9. Microsoft’s stance is as the latest version of HTML hasn’t been finalised they are not going to incorporate any of its features into the next version of their browser. Rather worryingly Microsoft have a track record of being slow to take up standards and when they do don’t have full compatibility.

There is a workaround using Google’s Chrome Frame for Internet Explorer, but I can see many IT services staff who would be reluctant to install this on the campus desktop. There is also a wider issue of Wave not being compatible with older versions of browsers but I would argue keeping your browser up-to-date closes security holes.

Security/authentication – This applies more to institutions planning on hosting their own Wave server. The Wave protocol only extends to the real-time communication architecture and doesn’t include the authentication of users. As Wave is an extension of the XMPP protocol there will be solutions to draw inspiration on. SURFnet have also prepared a report on Wave which covers authentication.

Permissions – The  level of permissions when authoring waves is very flat in that anyone added to a wave has the same permissions as the author. This means they can add additional people to a wave including making it public. Removing contacts from a wave also hasn’t been implemented yet.

General access – With Wave being only accessible to 100k+ users it going to be sometime before we see if the technology is going to survive the big bad world. Some development to be aware of are: Wave will almost definitely become part of the Google Apps Suite (a separate preview program has already been launched); and some big names including Novel and SAP are already developing applications using Wave technology.

The power of waves

One of the common discussions around Google Wave, particularly when considering when looking at the impact on education, is the debate “Wave versus {a VLE}”. I don’t see Wave as a replacement for the VLE but a platform which can be integrated into it to enhance its functionality. The metaphor I’ve used is ‘constructive interference’ - the scientific effect of combining waves of the same frequency resulting in amplification. To achieve this effect the waves have to be in harmony  otherwise instead of amplification the output can be cancelled out.


Whilst there are still a number of issues to be ironed out with Wave I think there is enough there to make institutions seriously look and start planning for the future. The very fact that a number of large corporations have been looking at how Wave can be used to support their business processes is an indication that the technology might be taking its first tentative steps towards becoming an industry standard.

Useful Links:

Moodle Wave: Embedding Google Wave into Moodle

I’ve previously given instructions for Embedding Google Wave into Blackboard, for you Moodlers out there the process is practically identical:

  1. In your Wave Preview account add [email protected]
  2. Create a new wave with Embeddy as a participant
  3. Embeddy will generate two pieces of code for you to copy to notepad (see screenshot-1)

Wave with Embeddy
Screenshot-1: Output from Embeddy (Click to enlarge)

  1. Once you’ve copied the code you can delete the content and remove Embeddy from the wave
  2. Next you can seed your wave with text, gadgets etc
  3. Now open your course in Moodle
  4. Depend on what version you are running you want to do something like  ‘Add a resource’ –> ‘Compose a web page’
  5. Enter your required resource name and summary. In the ‘Compose a web page’ text entry switch to ‘HTML Source’ view by pressing the ‘<>’ button and paste the code generated by Embeddy (see screenshot-2)

Screenshot-2: Content editing view in Moodle (Click to enlarge)

Once you have saved this switch to student view and you can see that a Google Wave is embedded into the course (see screenshot-3). Remember the same wave can be embedded and interacted with wherever you like.

A frequently asked question is what does a user see if they haven’t logged into Wave or have a Wave account? Screenshot-4 shows what the student will see in this scenario.

Screenshot-3: Wave embedded into Moodle (Click to enlarge)
Screenshot-4: Message if user hasn’t logged into Wave (Click to enlarge)


While Wave accounts are still at a premium I’m sure this will change next year. Combine this with the possibility of institutions being able to host their own Wave servers I think this technology will make it easy to add additional functionality to your VLE with very little overhead.

Even without Wave access our colleagues at JISC CETIS have already extracted some of the well known Wave gadgets and embedded them into a Moodle course (See  Using "Moodle Wave" - Live demo). This solution uses the Wookie engine to render the gadgets so no Wave account is needed. If you are interested in findind out more about this I would recommend reading Scott Wilson’s - "Moodle Wave: Reinventing the VLE using Widget technologies".

Black Wave 2: Blackboard Wave Integration!

Yesterday I showed you how you could embed Google Wave into Blackboard. At the time I tweeted this as “Google Wave embedded into Blackboard WebCT. A world 1st?″ (the tweet).

Turns out I might have not been the first to do this as George Kroner showcased a Blackboard Wave integration at EDUCAUSE09. His example is streaks ahead of mine as he is synchronising discussions between a Google wave and Blackboard (click on the screenshot below for a side by side comparison).

Blackboard Wave integration of discussion boards
Blackboard Wave integration of discussion boards

If you are luck enough to have a Wave account you can see the wave here. The mirror of the conversation in Blackboard is here.

The VLE lives!

Black Wave: Embedding Google Wave (etherpad and mindmeister) into Blackboard

There was a lot of talk at ALT-C this year about whether the VLE was dead. My personal view is divided. One one hand I can see the important role VLEs play in quality assurance. They are a controlled environment where the institution can validate learning, storing copies of work and making them available for external examination. On the other had VLE have a tendency to be rigid, forgoing flexibility and personalisation; ignoring the social change which is evident in other parts of the web. There is now a great richness is collaboration, openness and personal learning which sits outside the doors of the institutional VLE.

This all might however be about to change as the tide turns and the walls of the VLE are eroded by a rich web of social tools which are not bound by their domain but free to seed themselves on less fertile land.

That’s enough of the two-bit pros. Want to enrich your VLE with some Google Wave here’s how:

  1. In your Wave Preview account add [email protected]
  2. Create a new wave with Embeddy as a participant
  3. Embeddy will generate two pieces of code for you to copy to notepad (see screenshot-1)

Wave with EmbeddyScreenshot-1: Output from Embeddy

  1. Once you’ve copied the code you can delete the content and remove Embeddy from the wave
  2. Next you can seed your wave with text, gadgets etc
  3. Now open your course in Blackboard
  4. Depend on what version you are running you want to do something like add a file to the course content
  5. In the content make sure you are in html mode and paste the code generated by Embeddy (see screenshot-2)

Content editing in WebCT
Screenshot-2: Content editing view in Blackboard WebCT CE

Once you have saved this switch to student view and you can see that a Google Wave is embedded into the course (see screenshot-3). Remember the same wave can be embedded and interacted with wherever you like. So one student might want to play Sudoku in Blackboard another from a Wave client or anywhere else the wave has been embedded.

Wave embedded into Blackboard
Screenshot-3: Wave embedded into Blackboard

Why do I think Google Wave might revive a little life back in the VLE? The main reason for me is you will be soon able to host your own Wave server. This would allow blending an environment which requires validation and quality assurance with a rich social collaborative tool which is flexible enough to be embedded wherever you like.

Until Wave is put on general release I realise this is all perhaps a little blue sky. Don’t forget however that Wave isn’t the only real-time collaboration tool which can be embedded into Blackboard. After playing with Wave I also embedded the real-time text editing tool, or if you prefer, how about some mind mapping with Click here for information on etherpad embedding

Etherpad embedding (Click to enlarge)
Screenshot-4: etherpad embed

MindMeister embedding (Click to enlarge)
Screenshot-5: MindMeister embed

Thanks go to Simon Booth at the University of Stirling for Blackboard access.

Related post: Black Wave 2: Blackboard Wave Integration!

RSC Google Wave Phase I: Local installation

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Like many others out there I’m interested in Google Wave and the opportunities for communication, collaboration and social learning in education. Followers of my twitter feed will also be aware that I’ve been scrabbling around for an invite to the wave preview site (this is hopefully now in hand thanks to colleagues).

One of the reasons I’m interested in Google Wave is because it isn’t limited to running from one of Google’s own servers. From the very outset Google have laid out their stall, making available the Google Wave Federation Protocol, essentially the building blocks which would enable any organisation to setup and run their own Google Wave service.

The way we intend to support Google Wave within our region is to establish a special interest group (SIG) and host our own Google Wave service to allow staff (both academic and technical) to explore the use of Wave. As Google are still beta testing Wave it will not be until the new year that we will be formally pulling this group together, but this hasn’t stopped us laying some of the groundwork.

Phase I has been to install a local prototype server. Before you get your hopes up and think you can run a fully featured Wave service the current code only allows you to run a very basic client and server (see photo insert above). We are using this phase of the project to explore some of the server side techie bits (it also not necessary to run a prototype server on a Wibrain – it just happened to be the only linux box I had available ;-).

If you would like to try installing your own prototype server my main reference was the Installation Guide on wave-protocol Google code and a screencast by Luc Castera which originally appeared on his dambalah blog in July, embedded below. I’ve also prepared some of my own prototype server installation notes here – enjoy ;-):

Installing the Google Wave Server Reference Implementation from messagepub on Vimeo.

Google Wave – Opportunities for communication, collaboration and social learning in education

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed a flurry of links to Google Wave in What I’ve starred this week: June 2, 2009. This coincided with the release of a developer preview at the Google I/O Conference on 27th May 2009. This post attempts to outline what Google Wave is and features which might be of interest for teaching and learning. Whilst reading this post please remember that Google Wave is still in development and won’t be publically available until later in the year. I don’t usually highlight new products which aren’t available yet but feel there are lots of important features of Google Wave that are worth considering before its full launch.

What is Google Wave?

Wave is Google’s attempt to re-examine the way we communicate and collaborate. In particular they wanted to take a fresh look at the model we use to communicate via email. Email predates the internet and the original model used for email mirrors that of traditional postal mail. This model has a number of inefficiencies. In particular, messages are distributed to individuals rather than being stored centrally which creates issues if you want to co-collaborate on documents. There are a number of solutions which create a workaround like using SharePoint or Google Docs which allow you to contribute to a shared document but these solutions don’t necessarily have fully integrated communication tools like instant messaging.

Google Wave attempts to address this with their solution which is designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wiki type tools, social networking and re-syndication of data. To achieve this Google have developed a web based service, computing platform and a new email protocol. From the outset Google have designed Wave to be open so that it can be developed to fit particular user needs. The Google Wave API allows this via extensions (similar concept to Firefox add-ins – custom pieces of code which interact with the core programme) and embed (the ability to integrate Waves in your own site). A succinct overview of Wave is available here on Wikipedia.

Key features of Google Wave for teaching and learning

Google Wave was revealed to the world by Lars Rasmussen and his team at Google I/O and here is the full video (1hr:20mins) of his keynote. In this presentation some of the key features of Google Wave were demonstrated. Watching this video I could immediately see how some of these features could directly benefit teaching and learning and I’ve extracted these in a 10 minute highlights package shown below:

Google Wave: Opportunities for communication, collaboration and social learning in education (edit of Google I/O presentation - full version at

In summary, the features I thought were particularly useful were:

Documents centrally stored (00:00)
One of the issues when promoting 3rd party communication/collaboration tools is the security of data. This particularly ties into quality assurance processes which may require keeping copies of student work. Unlike other Google products like Gmail or Google Docs where information is stored on Google servers, Google Wave can be installed on local servers allowing the institution to control security, backups etc. As there is also a common standard behind Google Wave (Google Wave Federation Protocol) it also means it will be possible to share Waves on different servers. [The protocol is also open source which means anyone can build a custom Wave system]

Inline public/private replies (01:30)
Creating inline comments in available on most electronic documents. The difference with Wave is these comments could be used as a recorded discussion between student and tutor. The fact that you can also create private response which only go to named individuals also could be used to directly support group work. The main advantage of Wave is it integrates document management and collaboration tools in one environment.

Character-by-character instant messaging/collaboration (02:27)
Apart from the obvious potential productivity gains if you were solely to use a Wave for instant messaging, the ability to simultaneously edit the same document looks like a very useful feature for group work. Use of this feature doesn’t have to stop here. The ability to transmit almost character-by-character changes to a document could be used in other ways. For example, you could use a Google Wave to collect student questions during lectures which you can choose to answer straight away or at a later date. You could also use Wave as an electronic response system. Google have already implemented forms into Wave allowing you to view responses in real time. Using a Wave to support a lecture could also be an interesting way to capture, disseminate and co-create.

Syndication/embedding information and Wave functionality to other sites (05:00)
This is achieved using Wave Extensions, robots which can automate tasks or provide different ways data can be shared and interacted with. In the video above you can see an example of how the robot called Bloggy is used to simultaneously reaggregate information from a Google Wave into a blog. The potential of this would be to allow students to integrate the full functionality of Wave in a site of their choice. To expand on this a little, institutional VLEs struggle to compete with the draw of social network sites like Facebook or MySpace. Some institutions have endeavoured to create a presence in these sites but information flow and creation is limited and there is the conflict between personal and work related activities. Google Wave offers the theoretical opportunity to allow users to have the features of Wave in a 3rd party site whilst maintaining a divide between work and pleasure. This could allow students to create a personal learning environment within a site like Facebook maintaining the rich set of features available from Wave.

Filtered ‘playback’ (07:20)
Being able to step through the creation of a document isn’t a new idea and there are a number of other applications and web services which allow you see how a document has been built up. The feature of Google’s implementation of playback which most interested me was the planned ability to control who or which parts of the document you want replayed. The immediate use for this could be to assess individual contributions in group work, but there are other uses which could be explored. For example, feedback could be given on the process used to create/structure the document (e.g. preparing an outline of ideas, writing main points, introduction, conclusions etc.). Because Wave combines communication and collaboration it will be possible to capture and playback discussions between students/tutors and the resulting actions.


Hopefully this post has highlighted how Google Wave could impact communication, collaboration and social learning in education. Even if the ideas behind Wave don’t become fully adopted I think it will have enough of an impact to change our expectations of how we should communicate and collaborate. For example, I’ve already heard that the next version of Microsoft Office will have improved communication tools like the ability for electronic voting style interaction with PowerPoint presentations with any other device running the same software.

Whilst I’ve focused on student/tutor interactions it shouldn’t be ignored that Wave could also support the operation of institutions in other ways. In particular I have in mind the fact that a number of institutions in our region have distributed campuses and Google Wave could directly benefit collaboration in creating course/learning materials (networked learning) as well as the creation and administration of collaborative research projects.

If you would like to see some very early examples of Wave, Scott Wilson at JISC CETIS looks like he’s been having fun (this saved search contains Scott’s current posts on Google Wave) and his colleague Wilber Kraan has a post on Google Wave and teaching & learning.

If you have any ideas of how you could use Google Wave in teaching and learning please share them in the comments below.


This blog is authored by Martin Hawksey e-Learning Advisor (Higher Education) at the JISC RSC Scotland N&E.

mhawksey [at] | 0131 559 4112 | @mhawksey

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