PLEbot - A Personal Learning Environment based on the Google Wave Robots and Gadgets APIs

Maximilian Speicher


Current approaches and solutions concerning PLEs are well suited for accessing and aggregating resources but disclose certain weaknesses when it comes to creating and editing content from within the PLE and without continuously switching between the subsystems.

Looking at current trends and developments, Google Wave seems to be a good choice for repairing these weaknesses. The new invention of the Mountain View-based company has been introduced at the Google I/O 2009 developer conference and constitutes a tool for real-time collaboration and communication. Google stated that Wave is “what e-mail would look like if it were invented today”. While an e-mail needs multiple copies when a sender wants to share information with several people and thus causes a lot of overhead, a so-called “wave” is a hosted conversation consisting of a single copy. Within this shared space, the participants can interact using a series of “blips”, which are either document-like parts of a wave or comments within threaded inline discussions. Within blips, the participants can use texts and photos as well as videos, audio tracks and other kinds of resources (called “Gadgets”), such as maps or polls. When two users are working on a wave simultaneously, they can see in near-real time what each other is doing. Thus, Cann et al. say that “Google Wave ... appears like a blend of e-mail and instant messaging wrapped in a shell of collaborative authoring”.


Based on the weaknesses of current PLEs (or PLE-like Web 2.0 services) and the new concepts introduced by Google Wave, the aim of this thesis is to investigate the suitability of Google Wave for designing a learner-centered PLE, especially concerning the tasks of creating and editing content and resources of different types directly from within the PLE user interface.


A Personal Learning Environment (PLE) shall support the learner on easily managing his learning and therefore has to provide certain functionalities. While existing online approaches to PLEs are focused on accessing and aggregating different resources, they waive functionality for creating and distributing content from within a shared space combining all of a learner’s Web 2.0 tools. Google Wave is a new concept combining real-time communication and collaboration. Different APIs of Web 2.0 services have been identified and combined in a GoogleWave–based PLE. This Proof of Concept shows that it is possible to provide the functionalities omitted by existing approaches. Furthermore, the possibility to exchange content between the different APIs directly within the created PLE yields an optimized workflow and distinct improvements in time efficiency.





Mostafa Akbari

Created by tenhaft. Last Modification: Thursday, 01. July 2010 13:26:03 by speicher.