I’ve been lucky to be a member of the Google Glass Explorer Program for the past year. I was excited to learn about how this technology could be advanced in terms of education and everyday activities… however it never dawned on me how much potential it truly had until I began the Explorer Program. Over the past year using Glass in class I have began to see the potential not only in education, but also for the everyday consumer. Right now Google glass is expensive and limited among education and consumers…but it is a technology that is moving towards being more cost efficient for all users. (Cost to Build Google Glass) This is why, as educators, we need to take a more in depth look at how this technology will reform education as a whole.
After watching Google Glass develop over the past two years I have been following the use cases, common practices, and fellow Glass educators; so I was able to get a better understanding of what Glass could do and how it can grab attention of students. To apply these ideas the classroom I wore it to school, unannounced, and presented it to my students and fellow educators. During the presentation, a student (thats right a student asked)
So how does Glass fit into the education technology conversation?
This conversation spawned interesting introspective looks into my own educational practices, so I decided to answer some of the common questions that came into my mind and classroom.
Soon after I was received my Glass, I was bringing it on a regular basis to my classroom. Over the year, I passed the Glass unit around Mike Davis Elementary School amongst 5th grade students. During STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities I typically have students embark on “challenge projects” and hands on lesson activities. However, this time I was handed the Glass to a team of students who were in the midst of solving their hands on STEM lesson. I asked the students to record the information that they thought would help other students finish their challenges in a more efficient way (even possibly creating a walkthrough for others to watch). These students took multiple videos of their challenge solutions and asked to edit their videos together to create a walkthrough. These students then uploaded their answers to YouTube. I then was able to use the students 3 minute and 32 second video alongside my lesson to help guide students who were struggling with the concepts of electrical circuits. I noticed that through this method of first person walkthroughs (from a students perspective and explanation) ALL students had a better understanding and description of the topic I was trying to communicate during that class. Now I know that some educators and consumers express that this same task could have easily been done with an iPad or iPhone, but the students reveled in the experience of using Glass for the project. They also liked the ease of using this wearable device and the firsthand perspective it provided.
Another example I found from an Administrator that I had passed Glass to at Parkside Elementary School. The following is a quote from the administrator.
“From an administrative perspective, Glass is going to revolutionize the way we observe teachers in their classrooms. Since here in Florida we are required to observe teachers in their classrooms, Glass could help us view the teacher’s in their “natural environment,” rather than coming into a classroom and interrupting the flow of the lesson. The student or teacher could wear the Glass unit and record their lesson, which would allow myself to see a firsthand account of not only what the teacher is teaching, but what the student is doing while the teaching is happening. It opens new possibilities of guidance and collaboration between administrators and teachers…. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING….”
At Swallow Union Elementary School, Jen Marino is putting together a project for her third grade students that integrates Glass and has students leveraging the technology for solving math problems and reflection on the process. They will be wearing Glass while solving an area problem using color tiles. They’ll film the process via Glass, providing a voice-over as they walk through the problem. Students who have difficulty with determining the area will now also have an option for further learning. These videos can be pushed directly to YouTube, made private, and emailed home to parents for further practice.
Courtney Pepe, an innovative Glass user in the classroom has been using Google Glass in hundreds of aspects, and has said the following regarding Glass in Class.
“My classes generally begin with the students using their iPads to research a higher order-thinking question. Now, the chosen glass student of the day will say “okay Glass – Google – what is the difference between speed and velocity.” Searching on Glass is different than looking something up on iPad because Glass provides short bits of micro information that allows for quick synthesis on the part of the students. Then, the student says “okay Glass, take a note” and speaks the information into Evernote. This syncs to my Evernote and differentiates “how” my students meet their learning targets. Plus, the workflow is super easy.”
She also mentioned the idea of AR (Augmented Reality) using glass. Drew Minnock (@TechMinock), one half of Two Guys and Some iPads, created this video to show the integration of AR and Google Glass. Drew is also a Glass Explorer, and when it comes to Augmented Reality, he is the tip of the sword.
For those of you unfamiliar with Augmented Reality, it is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Scan a 2D learning object with an AR app, and something 3D or 4D pops up. The first week that we had the glasses, LAYAR came out with some API content that enabled my glasses to read Augmented Reality. Many of my lessons begin with the students having to approach a 2d AR trigger in the front of the room and scan it to open 3D content. The sound and look of this task has changed with Glass. While most of my students still approach the board with their iPads, the chosen Glass Explorer of the day will approach the board and say “okay glass… scan this.” The Glasses search the area for AR content ,and then with a series of taps and two-finger gestures, the student is viewing and listening to a Tellagami or other content on my YouTube channel.
Even through all these AMAZING practices we’re just scratching the surface with this new, exciting tool. Part of being a Glass Explorer is being on the cutting edge of education technology. To most people, this devices might seem like a waste of time, resources, or privacy… However, the potential is there.
The theme of an Explorer in all of its Glitz and Glamor is that we don’t take the path that’s been traveled most — we detour and find the least traveled and pave new roads to show others the way. We are striving to pave new roads for Glass in Education and are striving to be on the cusp of all things SmartGlasses in the classroom.