I steered clear of the Google Wave hype until David Wiley posted a short, resounding “things with the potential to completely transform the way we teach and learn come along so rarely I had to share.” I joked at CUNY WordCampEd that Google had all the makings of the killer LMS already they just needed to tie it together and re-imagine the flow (and I got this from a conversation in the wee hours of the night after Faculty Academy with Cole Camplese and Brad Kozlek), well Wave is in many ways that. In fact, it goes a step further and makes online conference/meeting tools like Eluminate, Adobe Connect, etc. all but irrelevant, for live video and voice can’t be far behind the instantaneous chat, document editing, map embedding, video watching, presentation sharing, and on and on and on.
And while I have to admit that watching the Google zombies present this app scared the hell out of me, the incessant call for applause sickened me, and the general sense that the open web has become the Google web deeply alarmed me—I still have no doubt that David Wiley’s assessment is right on, especially given the API will soon be unleashed upon an open web full of developers. I know that Google didn’t re-invent the LMS quite as I joked, but what they did is actually make it all but irrelevant by re-imagining email and integrating just about every functionality you could possibly need to communicate and manage a series of course conversations through an application as familiar and intimate as email. Genius, horrifying, but genius. And just to think UMW signed its students on to Microsoft Live this past fall! “Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!”