Catching the Wave (Oh I know it’s not original!)

I’ve been exploring using Google wave as a tool to help scaffold our work around Digital Scholarship Hackfests. My idea is simple –  i.e. to use wave a tool to capture the ideas forming that takes place before, during and after the hackfest – To help define the context of the work, to help support the discussions and provide a back channel during the development. The next hackfest is planned for the 24th so I’ll keep you posted of how we get on – key things are to get the group on wave, to get the discussion flowing freely and to keep the wave a reasonable size and shape.

I have only been trying wave for a short time but I’m enjoying it. It very simple conceptually but it does seem to have it’s own position. I was suggesting that it will form part of peoples online experience as time evolves.

At the moment it feels a little sterile as most of the conversations are about wave itself, or are people testing the water. It also feels a little chaotic and experimental. All of these things are fine in an emerging technology and I remembering feeling the same way when first experiencing email and conferencing many years ago when they were unrefined and raw. I think that ideas forming may be a crucial part of wave, as will it’s ability to mange complex relationships that used for be part of multiple email threads/discussions. It will also come of age when more people are on board and when etiquette is sorted out around privacy versus openness, and around whether you’re invited or can self join waves (I’d like a model like mail lists where some are open and some require you to be joined by the list moderators). I think the embedding is also fascinating and the ability to embed content from a range of sources will also help this mature into an extremely useful tool, it seems like it may have design applications, also CRM applications, it may replace wiki’s as a media for group and community led creations and it may also extend and complement email and twitter as a tool to manage complex organisational interactions. Finally it may be a tool that will help scaffold discourse and discussion, a bit like cloudworks.

I hope however it finds a home and does something new and that I haven’t thought of yet, something I didn’t know I needed until I used it in anger. Like twitter it enhances my life in small but very pleasant ways.


About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

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