There’s been a lot of chatter about Google’s new product, “Wave“, for the last couple of months. Looking from the outside it’s difficult to see what it does, what it does different, and what we can really use it for. It’s in beta at the moment so only a limited number of people are able to actually use it.
I was kindly given an invitation to try it and as soon as I got into the preview it was clear how hugely beneficial this could be to people like me with organisational nightmares. To teach anatomy we have 2 main lecturers, 3 technicians and dozens of clinical teachers. We need to co-ordinate the teaching of 450 learning outcomes, a shed-load of exam questions, and the use of a varying number of prosections, models, bones, projectors, laptops, and rooms among a different group of people every week. Try doing that through email. Luckily Jo’s brain can cope with much of this but we still make mistakes.
So imagine something that’s easy to access that looks like email. Except that we can all edit, add to and delete our plans live (we can all edit the same stuff at once, and see those edits in real-time) and talk about it while we do it. This is all well organised in itself and we share these waves among those that need the information and keep the others to ourselves.
I can see who will be teaching which learning outcomes, have a discussion about how to link my bits in with other people’s bits, lob up images for the other teachers to use, and Greg (our technician) can suggest the materials we have available and we can all argue about who gets to use the plastic model of the arm with the nerves on it and who gets to use the prosections. Good stuff, eh? I can argue with a surgeon that he’s better suited to teaching part of the abdomen, and I can amend his assigned learning outcomes and he can suggest additions and take away stuff that’s not important. The history of this development is all recorded – nothing is lost and we can all see who did what.
The discussions we need are far more likely to take place in this environment than face-to-face. We’re all too busy and most of the people involved need 6 weeks notice to get help with clinics if they’re going to spend a morning with us. Try getting 4 or 5 of those people in a room together. It’s not easy.
The key here is that it’s very easy to use. People are scared of wiki’s but they won’t be scared of this. The whole School of Medicine could take advantage of this.
Take a look at this long preview video and see if it makes sense for you. You can use Wave with me using firstname.lastname@example.org.