Well, it’s been quite a stressful three days since Wednesday, here at the “chalk-free face”, organising an exam session for next week, in which roughly one and a half thousand university students will be taking their English exams at the University of Verona. In order to attempt to run this fairly smoothly we work in pairs (very true to tefl, don’t you think?) and in the past this has always meant a flurry of emails, which are useful but rather a “stop and start” process at times too.
This time I decided I’d like to try working with Google Wave, and with beating heart, on Wednesday, I set it up, created a new wave and started typing a summary of the work so far. Then I contacted my colleague and lo and behold, without too much hassle, she appeared and we could actually see each other typing, not like a chat, where you only see the finished product, but the actual thought process as the other person works.
We could check info in real time and edit the wave or “document in process” as we went, or jump in with our own ideas and questions at any point in the document. The result was, that on Wednesday evening when I went home I logged on again, only to find that my colleague, and her husband, were still there, posting photos, and generally expeimenting, so I joined in the fun. The euphoria died off a bit on Thursday as some other colleagues told us they hadn’t been able to see or access the wave, and we’re still working on that. Then today it crashed at one point, but, after all, it is still experimental.
Why not just use Skype?
This was one of the first questions I was asked when I set up the wave, and I think the answer is twofold. Firstly, on Google Wave you can create a document together simultaneously, and I’m afraid you have to try this out to see it happening. (Or check out the link below and watch the video) But, take it from me it can be an amazing experience editing together with another person on one document, all at the same time. Secondly, it is like a sort of advanced chat, because it is “instantaneous” so that you see the other person “thinking”. So, all in all, I can highly recommend it (although I’d save a copy of the document too, as you go…)
So come on jump in and join the waves. The blog is a good place to start: