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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Waveboard

by Dirk Holtwick
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality:
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4.25 starsstar
Reviewed: Sep 29, 2010 by Teacher Education
Overview: Waveboard is a flexible communication and collaboration web application tool for Mac users, where one can organize material and create conversations called "waves" with other participants. This communication tool may be used for updates, calendar, agenda, and research items with a team. It looks and works similar to Google Wave in a browser, with additional features.
Learning Goals: Waveboard is a Google Wave client. Instructors are currently using Google Wave for course activities such as small group projects or collaborative note-taking. The goals include: 1. Use this browser engine as an editing tool to document searches, update items, and communicate on additions and changes 2. Print, share and save in a Webarchive, the contents of the changes that were made, by showing the “current wave” in “real-time” to more than one participant 3. Collaborating on the “wave” through communication to people who do not participate in the “wave,” 4. Provide "wave" supports to gadgets like polls, maps, and other internet sites.
Target Student Population: Middle School to Graduate Level; Professional Use Students need to be 13 years old to create a Google Wave account.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Students should have a general understanding of how email and chat work.
Type of Material: Waveboard is both a synchronous and asynchronous communication tool. Google describes it as what email would look like if it were invented today.
Recommended Uses: Waveboard works well for collaborative groups who are working on long-term projects because it includes a notification mechanism, allowing users to know when a Wave has changed. A Wave contains all the messages about a single topic. It is similar to a discussion forum, except the messages can be both like email (asynchronous) and chat (real-time).
Technical Requirements: Waveboard works on Macintosh computers only, running version 10.5 or higher. PC users will need to use Google Wave within their browser. Users need to have a Google Wave account which can be set up by going to http://googlewave.com and clicking on the Create Account button. Macintosh users may use Adobe Air and create a Google Wave Account, where Google Gears plugin is needed.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating:
Strengths: Waveboard would be used by an instructor for a student project. The Content Quality rating does not apply to Waveboard. Communication tool can be used for a current project between participants in real time. It also shows different editing capability and track changes through notification tools. There are links to Google wave, where one can view videos on its use.
Concerns: The Content Quality rating does not apply to Waveboard.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: Recent research in online learning (e.g. Means (2009) and Zhao (2005)) emphasizes the value gained by having blended learning environments. Waveboard can be used in both real-time and asynchronous learning activities. Students may feel less isolated when working in real-time and be more reflective in asynchronous activities. Having a single tool to handle both types of communication can help keep small group projects organized and make the assessment of the participation much easier.
Concerns: There was a concern about students getting invitations to Google Wave but that changed during the Spring of 2010. Accounts are now generated automatically when a student signs up. Support will be needed to create a framework for this processing of information. Samples of learning assignments are needed for instructors and specific outcomes for students.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: The Waveboard creator has done a nice job of incorporating common Macintosh shortcut keys into Waveboard. Google Wave also includes a number of shortcut key strokes that will make typed communication more efficient. There is also an advantage of Waveboard looking like Google Wave as other Wave clients have completely different interfaces which can be confusing.
Concerns: There is a learning curve with Waveboard and Google Wave. Students may initially be confused by simple tasks such as replying to another student's message. There are a number of good training videos about Google Wave on YouTube. Students should be asked to watch one or two of these before participating in their first wave.

Other Issues and Comments: Project collaborators (using Google Wave) may choose to use Waveboard instead, to take advantage of the notification feature. However, since some members may be using PCs, it would be helpful to have a PC client. An iPad client would also be a valuable addition.