Google Shared Spaces – Potential Collaboration Tools

Google Wave crashed on the beach earlier this year, but its code and various parts of it live on in various incarnations on the web. (Technically, Wave still exists for existing users, but Google is not supporting it). One of the places where some of the Wave technology is still in use is in Google Shared Spaces. Shared Spaces is a gallery of little widgets that can be used to collaborate on various tasks like drawing, making lists, creating surveys, and developing maps.

I tested out a Shared Space for drawing with about 15 other people and found it easy to use. That said it did get a little messy because we couldn’t tell who was drawing what. There is, however, a chat option in the drawing Shared Space which could be used to assign colors or tasks to people in the space.

I also tested out a Shared Space for map creation. The map space looks and acts a lot like a Google Map and can be used to collaboratively develop a map. As with the drawing space, the map Shared Space includes a chat function.

To invite people to your Shared Space you can Tweet, Buzz, or email the unique url for your space to other people.

Applications for Education

Google Shared Spaces is still a Labs project which means they’re still in development. That said, my initial impression is that Shared Spaces could be useful little gadgets for having students do simple brainstorming exercises and generate to-do lists for group projects. Teachers and or administrators could use Shared Spaces to develop surveys to gather feedback from students, staff, and parents.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google for Teachers
Twenty Google Tools Tutorials for Teachers
Google for Teachers II


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