Google Glass In The Class: Wearable Technology Of The Educational Future
by Eric Boykin, DDI student intern, Summer 2014
Many colleges and universities have adopted the BYOD or BYOT (Bring your own device or bring your own technology) policy or method in the classrooms that allots for many students using their own technology to facilitate the learning process also known as the SAMR model. One device I think would be a great asset to education is Google Glass. Google Glass is a wearable technology or wearable computer that has a cube shaped glass prism display just above the right eye that displays information from the Internet or any source that is Bluetooth enabled. With this feature, professors can have their students interact with Google Glass and stream their lectures. Professors can additionally see how their students are responding to the lectures from the student’s point of view in real time. They can assist that student who may be struggling with the material and offer them that one-on-one assistance as needed. The professor will be able to view and track each student’s progress all from his laptop and at the same time see whether the student is paying attention. Professors can also create instructional videos from their perspective. This can reach many students who may need to see the instruction from another point of view as opposed to reading the instructions from a book or lab manual. In assessing their own teaching style, professors can view the student’s Google Glass to see how their teaching methods are seen as a student in their course. What grabbed the student’s attention? Which methodology fostered better learning? This is important and can be the first significant step for educators analyzing their own practice. Of course there will need to be some tweaking and networking of Glasses to achieve this, however I believe it is attainable.
In the classroom, from the student’s perspective, Google Glass can be used to record lectures for note taking purposes and for better understanding of the material covered when reviewed at a later date. Students can quickly “google” a topic and receive hits instantly to help them better understand what is being discussed or taught. Yes this can be achieved using your standard smart phone, but Google Glass will make this more “natural” and “instantaneous” to do.
Do I expect educators and students to toss Google Glass in the classrooms and lecture halls and anticipate the learning process to be successful? Absolutely not, however a conversation definitely will need to be had regarding its usage and functionality within the confines of the learning process. Many students will find ways to use the technology as a distraction, which is why the conversation needs to be had regarding procedures and practices while in the classroom setting. Similar to the discussions regarding smartphone, laptop, and tablet usage in the classroom, Google Glass will definitely update policies and protocols previously established. For instance, only using Google Glass in authorized settings as to not elicit negative reactions from those who are around, i.e. wearing Google Glass in restrooms, during examinations, etc. Instead of educators fighting and pushing back on the notion of using Google Glass in the classrooms, they should embrace and use the technology to assist in the learning process. Ten years ago, cell phones and laptops were prohibited in the classroom and deemed distractions, whereas today they are incorporated in the learning experience.
Overall, many professors and teachers have already explored ways to utilize Glass in the classroom. They start out as skeptics and later are changed into believers. Silvia Tolisano talks about her difficulty adjusting the first day she used it at her school in her blog, First Experiences with Google Glass at School. Josh Fuller chronicles his three-week trial of Google Glass in the classroom on his blog site A Tech Ed World, where his initial thoughts of Glass vastly changed upon his three-week usage. Granted he was not totally against the idea of using Glass in the classroom, he sees its potential to be a great learning tool to “enhance education.”
Google Glass definitely has my vote for a new and emerging technology that will be beneficial in education in the near future.