More Waving

Thanks much for the comments from yesterday’s post! Seems there is real interest in the Google Wave platform out there in ed tech land. One thing that is striking me as interesting are the number of comments I’m getting these days via Twitter … what excites me is that people are reading in the moment and are compelled to share a short thought with me.

@colecamplese great commentary cole. Thanks for translating to .edu space! (from @Clifhirtle)

What concerns me is that these are comments that could potentially move the conversation further if left within the context of the blog post. And in that statement I am making the case for what I understand Wave to be — a platflorm that will allow for in stream communication that will filter back into context. This is amazing to me in and of itself. Today I figured out that it will be relatively easy for us to run our own Wave instance … this will (presumably) give us a layer of control that could empower a whole new level of openness and conversation in our classrooms.

The old thinking of commenting where I need you to could be destroyed — and that is an amazingly scary thought. I love it.

The big talk across the edublog space is that it could mean the end of the LMS. I’ll just say it, that’s crazy talk. What it probably means is that we might get a better footing in the LMS contract world and that we’ll have new opportunities to innovate. This platform can do quite a bit for us in the teaching and learning space, but as far as I can tell it probably will not be suited for testing on a real scale and it probably cannot replace the basics of the LMS definition — learner management. We need the LMS to do lots of things, but we also need new tools to support pedagogy that works to engage students. I think Wave will begin to even the playing field so that we have easy to use teaching and learning platforms alongside our real need to manage assessment, participation, and the like. Wave represents a new opportunity.

I am thinking quite a bit about a post by colleague Michael Feldstein … I think it and the comments should be part of any of our push to understand these changes. Its worth a read and a discussion. As always I am happy to hear thoughts!

9 thoughts on “More Waving

  1. Pingback: Riding the Google Wave « 4R x T

  2. Cole,
    If Wave can do what we all think it can do, I actually feel it will continue the much-needed trend of separating content creation and communication functions OUT of LMS/CMS. These products have been forced by immature markets to incorporate these features and functions into their products over the years; authoring tools, email functions, message boards, etc. Whether they are aware or not, these “add on” tools and functions have rarely been adequate and quite frankly, I don’t think they’ve ever been concerned by that. They only added them on top of their core function because they needed to be able to answer “yes” in their product specs for overly ambitious and poorly conceived RFP’s the last decade or so. I believe that most LMS/CMS vendors would love to drop these functions from their products so that they can get back to focusing on what their products should do: manage learners. The LMS function will never go away: somebody will always need hard data and reports on who is doing what and when. Wave could represent the “OK” for LMS/CMS’ to finally quit pretending they’re concerned about content creation. That cheer we are hearing could be LMS/CMS vendors cheering the albatross being lifted from their collective necks.

  3. But what is involved in “learner management” – if content creation and collaboration is moved out of current LMS’ – what is needed in an LMS?

    For a variety of reasons, this fall semester, I am planning to use a combination of a blog space (blogger), a portal (netvibes), a wiki/site (google sites), a microblog (twitter, for announcements), and a discussion group (google groups) to deliver all content and instruction. I plan to facilitate learner’s creating personal learning spaces for the class; any written assignments will be posted via their blog spaces which I’ll be aggregating on the portal.

    The ONLY feature of the LMS I’ll be using day to day will be the gradebook – particularly since my class is project driven, there are no traditional tests for which an LMS can help. There’s no hooks from the LMS to the better non-LMS content and collaboration tools that will allow the LMS to track learner use of those tools. So, IF the only LMS features we need are gradebook and testing engine, given plugins that tie into an institution’s Wave server which is presumably tied into authentication services – is there any learner management left for LMS’ to do?


  4. @ cmduke I’m defining, Learner Management as the things we need to do to “manage” things like rosters, dropboxes, quizzes, and the like. It is larger the administrative side of managing a classroom. You mention gradebooks and that is exactly the type of thing that an LMS/CMS is good at. Please keep me posted on your Fall semester experience!

  5. Right. So my question is…

    If we separate communication/collaboration from learner management – the unique contributions of an LMS becomes class rolls, attendance, a way to submit/share a document/file, and a quiz/test engine. How or why could those functions not be replaced by plugins or applications that integrate with the Wave server?

    I think you’re right that the LMS will never go away. BUT, I think the commercial LMS – what most people think of when you say LMS – can and will go away. And, I think Wave may expedite that process. Pre-Wave, it could take another five to ten years before open source projects like Moodle and Sakai reach critical mass and are able to overtake commercial products; and, given that the open source efforts are splintered across an increasing number of projects, it could take longer or never happen. Post-Wave, however, you have a collaboration and content creation tool into which all LMS’ can hook – if Moodle, Sakai or a Wave native LMS only has to compete with Blackboard and others on the level of rosters, gradebooks, quiz engines and attendance – I think the game ends much more quickly.

  6. @ cmduke I think we are in agreement. I do think the LMS as we know it will need to evolve. My colleague, John Harwood, said something I liked in a discussion we were having the other day about the future of the LMS space … he talked about it having core features like you mention and then a whole bunch of empty keys that we can drop in new functionality to manage all sorts of activities. Late adopting faculty may only use the pre-defined keys, while the front liners will want to play new music by defining the keys themselves (or selecting from a set). In this Universe the LMS is a core set of features, while something like Wave can be flexible and agile — and allow all sorts of beautiful music to be played. I think roster management, teaming, collaboration, and other ideas will end up working seamlessly with Wave in our LMS tools over time. I am just really looking forward to it all!

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