Google Wave is a new web tool unveiled in May of 2009. The service is still in closed Beta format (as of Feb 9, 2010). The creators are still working out some of the issues with the program. They have asked users if they wish to volunteer for surveys. Google Wave can be used for sharing documents, communications, photos, etc. Currently, you need an invitation to join Google Wave. It is free and the request is submitted by an intended user and the answer is delivered by the Google team via email.
I sent a request to Google Wave to join and mentioned I was doing a presentation for a university course and they accepted me within two days. I received 10 “guest passes”, one of which I delivered to my sister so we could do a mock up scenario for this presentation. It used to take a long time to get an invitation to join. Since Nov 2009, it is easier.
So before I show you the screen shots of some actual examples of how it can be used, I’ll just let you know t his process is similar to how we signed onto Moodle for the Intro to Tech course. You first have to have a Google Wave account, and then to participate in Google Wave, you must sign up for a Google Mail (g-mail) account. in order to add people to your contact list, they have to first have a Google Mail (g-mail) account and also accept Google Chrome (which is just an upgraded Google program). These are free. Once a user has the g-mail account, they can participate in Google Wave. Members can select who they wish added to their contact list (or later remove).
This is what Google Wave home page looks like. You can see the new Google Chrome with the tabs on top of the page. The main conversation window is on the right. The headshot icon you see in the message area represents you. That area is where you can add contacts to your conversation by clicking on the plus sign. On the very left of the screen is your navigation tools where you can navigate through your waves and towards the bottom on the left is where you can organize your contacts. Once contacts are added, users can hold a conversation similar to that of MSN or iVocalize although the difference is the typing will appear in real-time. Each conversation is called a wave. Waves can be edited like a chat and/ or like email.
The screen on the right allows you to hold a conversation with your contacts. Other students can be in the same “wave”. This is a mock scenario between an instructor and student. Participants can respond to any part of the conversation – they don’t have to respond to just the last entry. Also, users can have private conversations with other contacts within the same wave. (eg if a participant wanted to say something to only one other participant, they simply select the participant & carry out a private conversation while still in an original wave.)
The paperclip icon (3 rd from the right) allows the user to attach a file, photo, map, etc. A great feature about Google Wave is that you can drag and drop files from desktop for eg - which is much easier than attaching through ‘explore’. If I wanted to add a photo or a document from my desktop, I can simply select, then drag and drop to share with my other contacts. Contacts can start a group photo album – for example of all their seminar photos. Also, the option is available to select who sees which photos. So perhaps there might be a photo one wishes to share with only one other participant; that is possible.
Here at the bottom of the right-hand section, you can see the student has attached the assignment for the instructor to accept/download. The instructor can accept the attachment and open it up right from this screen or drag it to their desktop and open at a later time.
Waves can be saved (archived) or deleted. Users can be added into a wave in the middle of the wave, and they can catch up with the conversation by using the playback feature. Basically, that runs the new user through the conversation as it took place. The new participant can respond to any part of the wave. Or they can jump right in to the conversation if it is still taking place. Additionally, if any user were not logged in, they could catch this wave similar to email when they log into the site. They select playback and they get the entire string of the conversation.
A couple of other features just quickly before I wrap this up. Wikify is an application on Google Wave that allows the user to get a definition of any topic they want from within a Wave. Add Wikify mail address to your Wave contact list and when you want to look up a definition, utilize the Wikify command. This takes you to the Wikipedia definition. Great when doing research. Also, there is a feature that allows the user to embed waves on a webpage. This would be good if there was a discussion that the facilitator wanted to share with a larger group on the main webpage for example.
Google Wave is a great tool for collaborative work. A group can collaborate in real time to discuss and provide feedback immediately rather than emailing back and forth and trying to manage several versions from all other group members. This really simplifies version control. These waves can be saved. This feature is really handy if any group members are unavailable to participate at the time of the conversation. They can catch up at a later time.
Google Wave is good for brainstorming, early concept creation and discussions around projects and lessons. Very effective for multi-user note taking (school or meetings). It is a very complex tool and can become overwhelming until the user is comfortable with the setup. The only drawbacks are the fact that you have to have a g-mail account and then sign up for Google Chrome, plus the program is rather new so there aren’t many people who are members of the Wave. The real-time communications value seems to outweigh the weak points because it offers such great efficiency for group collaboration.
Introduction to Technology Judy T Undiks
Introduced May 2009 <ul><li>“ A Wave is a single shared space where two or more users can exchange real-time dialogue, photos, videos, maps and documents in what is called a Wave. </li></ul>
Google Wave can be used by instructors and students as a communication tool similar to Moodle.
<ul><li>“ Everyone can reply to a Wave, people can come and go and you can drag and drop information from all over the web.” </li></ul>