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November 5, 2009, 11:45 AM ET

Google Uses Educause Meeting as Focus Group for Wave

Denver -- A panel of Google programmers wearing green T-shirts talked last night about the company's newest product -- called Wave -- but it was clear that they had come here to learn a few things about education.

Wave is a new kind of communication and collaboration service that is so hard to explain that the company usually points people to an hour-and-a-half video to explain how it works. It essentially combines several existing services in one interface -- chat, e-mail, word processing, video and photo sharing, and more.

At one point, a college leader asked the panel from Google if Wave would be compatible with IMS Global standards, which helps education software from various vendors work together. "What's IMS?" said Anna-Christina Douglas, a Google product-marketing manager. "That's why we're here," she added, noting that the group hoped to make the service more useful to the education community. A member of the audience shouted out that she should "Google it."

Much of the discussion focused on what kinds of things Wave could do to help in the teaching process.

Oren Sreebny, director of emerging technology at the University of Washington, said that right now many professors are using a mix of free Web tools in their courses, from YouTube to photo-sharing sites like Flickr, but that it can be confusing to tell students to create accounts on all of those different services. "One of the exciting things about Wave is it brings the possibility of bringing it all back in one place without imprisoning it in a box like in so many course-management systems," he said, to applause by some of the audience.

The company created a Google group for Educause members who want to talk about their experiences with Wave, and they took notes about last night's meeting in a Wave that anyone can look at. Well, anyone with a Google Wave account. The service is still in a preview mode, meaning that only a limited number of people have been allowed in. At the end of the session, Google asked audience members to stand in line, and the Google officials handed out cards granting an invitation to preview the service.


1. mccoyshelley - November 05, 2009 at 05:14 pm

I've sent at least 3 e-mails to Google asking to be included in the Beta test for Wave. I've been ignored. BTW, I used my .edu address.

2. creldridge - November 05, 2009 at 09:04 pm

I have a Google Wave account but can't find the Educause meeting notes. Instructions, anyone?

3. orensr - November 06, 2009 at 02:20 am

Actually, what I said was that I'm currently teaching a course on social technologies and we have our online presence spread all over the web: Google Moderator, Delicious, Facebook, etc. and that students find it confusing to have to keep track of assignments in all these places. They mostly already had accounts on these services before my class. I think Wave could be a great way of tying these kinds of services together in one place. My current title is actually Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives.

For the Educause meeting notes in Wave, search with:public tag:educause09

4. hanson2 - November 06, 2009 at 11:09 am

To Mccoyshelley,

The easiest way to get in is to be invited from someone who already has wave. I'm not sure how they are determining how many invites each user gets, but everything is taking time. I have wave, but no invites yet.

Good luck!

5. wordmonkey - November 06, 2009 at 03:52 pm

How to Get Started with Google Wave

6. fisler - November 06, 2009 at 03:54 pm

Anyone has any invitations left? I'd be interested to test. My gmail username is joelcfisler, thanks in advance for any invitation :-)

7. miachenyze - November 06, 2009 at 10:39 pm

I tried the with:public tag:educause09 and variations like tag:educause and without the public filter... but I still can't find that particular wave! If anyone's on it, would you mind adding me? I'd love to hear what's been discussed about using wave (or even other technologies) with regard to education! my address is: miachenyze@wavesandbox.com and i can be emailed at chenyze @ gmail.com as well.

8. eelalien - November 07, 2009 at 12:53 am

Gawd, but this all so YESTERDAY...>yawn

9. josephvaughan - November 07, 2009 at 07:28 pm

I was the one that asked about IMS Global standards, in particular the learning information services standard. It would be an ideal way to interface with student information systmes and create groups of students to work on a wave. It was also me who suggested they Google "IMS Global", but they gave a good response that they would have to know what to google first (They were having difficulty understanding what I was saying, I think).

10. robabel - November 11, 2009 at 11:15 am

Thanks Joseph. Rob Abel here - CEO of IMS Global Learning Consortium. I've had interface with two Google executives over the last couple of years to try to inform them about what IMS is doing, but have basically been ignored. We have also conducted a Google Summer of code project for IMS LTI, led by Chuck Severance.

The good news is that the members of IMS have much greater market share than Google in higher ed and will create adaptors to the Google work from LIS, with or without collaboration from Google. Stay tuned in coming months.

However, leaders in education need to understand that IMS members like Microsoft who compete with Google are willing participants in and supporters of IMS. They collaborate within the education segment. So, consider that when choosing an email/apps platform.

My impression of Google at this point is that either they own it or they're not interested in it. But, perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised in the future.

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