Embracing the “Wave”: Using Google Wave With First Graders

A Small Look At Our First Google Wave With @jgriffith2’s Class

When it comes to using technology in the classroom, I’m willing to try almost anything (at least once).  When @jgriffith2 asked me if we would like to try out Google Wave with her class, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to use another Web 2.0 tool with my students.  My class has been communicating with Mrs. Griffith’s class as part of a Community Project, so my students were excited to connect with this class again.

Since I would be the one doing the typing during this conversation, I wanted to make sure that all of my students were involved in the learning process.  I decided to try backchanneling with them, so that they could ask questions and share ideas while also taking part in the Google Wave experience.  I had my students using their Palm Treos for this backchannel.  Obviously using a backchannel with Grade 1 students is no where as complex as using one with junior, intermediate, high school, or even university students, but it still worked out surprisingly well.  Yes, students were typing and sharing ideas while I was typing their ideas up on the SMART Board (and into the Google Wave), but what they were typing and sharing was information related to this activity that helped them with the follow-up activity too.  I trusted my Grade 1 students to multi-task responsibly, and they didn’t disappoint me. 

I would definitely use a backchannel again, and would even like to try out a Google Wave up in the computer lab, where all of my students can be on their own computers backchanneling in a more formalized way, possibly even using a program such as Today’s Meet.  I think that this would be a very engaging way for them to share their own ideas, converse with others, and add to the “bigger activity” too: the Wave.

It’s amazing that once you get yourself immersed in using these Web 2.0 tools, there are so many more possibilities available for you, and more importantly, for your students.  For parents and teachers out there, what do you think about using these Web 2.0 tools in the classroom? 

I can’t wait to see where Google Wave will take us as a class and where backchanneling will take us as a learning community of young learners!


5 thoughts on “Embracing the “Wave”: Using Google Wave With First Graders

  1. That’s so neat that you had them backchanneling in grade 1! I really like your idea of using the technique in the computer lab. We use actual post-it notes a lot in our room. But, that’s so awesome that you used the Palm Treos – so much more high-tech and easier to gather the comments. Thank you for trying out wave with us! We look forward to waving with you again with the What is a COMMUNITY? project and hopefully with a small reading group. Here’s a good-bye wave for now!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve been waiting to see Google Wave used in classrooms and it sounds like it can be useful. As a fellow educator, it is so nice to find others who are willing to take a chance with student learning. I think web 2.0 is a terrific way to extend education beyond the four walls of your own classroom. I think it helps students to know there are others out there learning many of the same things. Excellent job! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you both for your comments and your words of encouragement! It is great to collaborate with educators that are also willing to try out something new in the classroom. It’s amazing what these Grade 1 students can do with the Web 2.0 tools!

  4. Great to hear that it all worked well. I know JamieLynn is willing to try all of these type of things and I’ve really been curious about using Google Wave with classes. I don’t think I was thinking about 1st and 2nd graders, though! That is great to hear. I’ll be out at JamieLynn’s school next week and will talk to her more about how it went. I’m doing a “Riding the Google Wave?” session at the Erie 1 BOCES “Riding the Digital Wave” NYSCATE Conference and would like to know about how your session went. Thanks for sharing.
    Good luck with everything else.

  5. Mark, thanks for sharing! I hope that your presentation goes well. It really is amazing what even young students can do with these Web 2.0 tools. I’m so glad that my first Google Wave experience went so well too!

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