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Teachers, Google Wave Worth Riding

Science Under the Microscope

GoogleWho is ready to hang ten on Google Wave? I am. I am.

I am known among my friends and colleagues as an "early adopter"--someone who tries out new tools and technologies as soon as they are available. People like me don't mind a few glitches because we enjoy the excitement of something new and we have the know-how to troubleshoot most problems that tend to pop up.


This is how I got on the Google Wave bandwagon several months ago, when this new communication/collaboration tool was announced. It was (and still is) in an early stage of development, which scared away many of the first potential users, but the promise of this platform (particularly for educators) is huge.


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Google describes Wave as "email, if it was invented today", but I prefer Gina Trapani's clearer explanation that it is "a real-time wiki". Neither definition really does justice to the array of things that it can do. Wave looks like email, but each "message" is actually a document that can include embedded items (videos, maps, etc) and can be simultaneously edited by multiple users. Rather than passing a threaded message back and forth, users can reply to each other in one place, full of links and gadgets to enhance the information being shared. The "wow" factor of watching your friend's cursor typing on your screen in front of you is captivating.


Professional Development Wave
As teachers, we can use Google Wave (both now and when it's "ready for primetime") in many ways. First, it creates a fantastic environment for conducting online professional development. We can collaborate on lesson plans and best practices with colleagues even if they aren't available at the same time that we are, or in the same location.


Wave For Students - All Web 2.0 in One
In working with students, Wave provides many of the best features of chat programs, forums, wikis, and email to enable collaboration between students, classes, and even schools. This all comes in a free, open-source package that resembles email applications closely enough to lower the learning curve significantly.


Invite Only
The only catch for now is that to gain access you must receive an invitation from an existing Wave user. Ask around and you will likely find one among your friends and members of your Personal Learning Network. So catch the Wave and see where it takes you.


Have you tried Google Wave yet? What did you think? Share in the comments section!

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