An an educational technologist, a Google Certified Teacher, and in my role of ISTE Board member, I am always thinking about the role technology can play to improve teaching and learning. It is not about the technology, but about having a choice of tools available for students to support their learning. Educators are bringing blended learning and project based learning into the classroom. Students are researching, collaborating, and creating projects and products to showcase their mastery of content by using technology in meaningful ways.
Wearable technologies, such as Google Glass, are beginning to be used by teachers and students to support the instructional process. Teachers and students are sharing the ways they find to include Glass seamlessly into the curriculum via blogs, Twitter, and Google+ postings. Even though there may be only one pair of Glass in a classroom, the ability to screencast what the wearer sees and project it via an iOS or Android device, opens the world of Glass to everyone in the room. The ongoing development of applications to be installed on Glass, called Glassware, also provides various tools that can be used in the classroom.
Some of the uses of Google Glass in the classroom include
- Students or teachers creating videos through the eyes of the wearer to share with others. These videos can be recorded and shared via YouTube as well as be shown in real-time by starting a Google Hangout.
- When wearing Glass, the wearer can use both of their hands, and can easily document a science lab, presentation, or other class-related event and post that up to a class Facebook, Tumblr or Google+ account, all via Glass.
- WordLens is a Glassware app that translates what the viewer is reading to and from many languages. This can be very beneficial to a second language learner in the classroom.
- For students with physical handicaps, being able to search the Web via their voice as well as easily send messages to a classroom backchannel, Twitter, or the teacher, can assist them with various classroom tasks.
- For students who are interested in developing applications, Google Glass provides another avenue of developing for a specialized device.
One great project is Margaret Powers (@mpowers3) “365 Days of Glass Project”. (http://http://365daysofglass.com/) Each day she documents how she and the students are using Glass in her schools. Recently, she recorded kindergarten students in her Maker Club, as they create flowers out of cups, cardboard, and additional materials. And the next day, after their unit on snow, the kindergarteners wore Glass to record images and videos of the snow outside and share them with classes they are collaborating with in Brazil and Singapore. The first-person perspective on her site becomes instructional for other teachers and makes it easy for them to replicate the lesson or project in their own classroom.
Ms. Powers is also spearheading a global collaborative project between her K-2 students and other classes around the world who want to participate in virtual field trips and Google Hangouts to exchange cultural information and learn about other places in the world. These include classroom tours and first-perspective lessons. (http://globalclassroom2013-14.wikispaces.com/The+Global+Google+Glass+Project)
An interesting pilot project that should provide teachers and students with more ways that Glass can be used in the classroom is the one at Lufkin Independent School District in Lufkin, Texas. The middle school students are encouraged to wear Glass and come up with ways for it to be used in school. As more schools get Glass in the classroom, there will be widespread sharing of thoughts and ideas.
Having a single pair of Google Glass in the classroom reminds me of the days of the one-computer classroom. Everyone had to wait for a turn to use the device. I think once we see a K-12 school pilot with a classroom set of Glass, there will be many more practical and creative uses showcased.
Resources for the support of Google Glass in Class
Google Glass in Class Resource Page
Google Glass in Education Google+ Community
What are your thoughts about Google Glass in the classroom for teaching and/or learning? Email me or find me on Twitter