Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Google Wave Experiment

Disruptive WaveImage by curiouslee via Flickr

I received my Google Wave Preview invite a little over a week ago. Below is my account of the past week with Google Wave.

I opened the email was an instantly excited - I had been waiting for this. Ever since hearing about this new communication / collaboration tool, I wanted to get my hands on it. I was curious how it would work, what would it look like, would it be user friendly AND could it have a place in education? (Keep in mind this is an EARLY version of the tool.)

I immediately logged on and spent several minutes exploring the layout and features. First thought - "Ok, it kind of looks like gmail..." Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Users who aren't usually quick to change, might find a familiar interface comforting.

Having only a few friends who had already received invites, I struggled to have Wave conversations with others at first, and really fully utilizing the tool. However, after a few days I was added to the "Kentucky Wave", which was created by a former Kentucky K-12 student who now works for Google. Currently this wave has approximately 20 participants and I immediately began to see the impact of having a group of contacts versus single contacts.

With IM and previous communication tools (email included) a majority of the conversations were between two people and this was sufficient. However with Wave, the more the merrier. I began digging through conversations, points of information, questions and other bits / pieces by the other members of the Wave and found a multitude of conversations, resources, ideas, etc. It was a living, breathing 2.0 space where real-time conversations were happening right in front of my eyes. Now this is powerful.

I am still in the early stages of exploring and look forward to continue learning how best to use this tool to accomplish the tasks of communication and real-time collaboration. I believe that Google Wave has the capability to a viable collaboration tool increasing integration, boosting productivity and capturing more knowledge.

Time will tell how quickly Wave is adopted by main stream users, particularly the Education Arena. I, for one, look forward to the day that a teacher in my district comes to me showcasing how their students utilized Google Wave to accomplish collaboration in their classroom.


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