In December, I received a Google Invite to become a Google Glass Explorer. I was not given much time to accept the hefty price tag or let the Google invite expire. In the name of education and my passion for thinking and exploring new ways to transform teaching and learning, I accepted…. (still not sure how I feel about …)
On Monday, I took my Google Glass for the first time to school. We had a pre-service workshop planned (we just returned to school after the summer break here in the Southern Hemisphere) and I wanted to test if I could use the device to document the workshop to
- capture moments of discussion
- record what the presenters shared
- share what participants contributed to the conversation
Here are a few thoughts after the first week:
- I am overwhelmed ( …too much stimuli)
- Not as intuitive as I thought it would be… (I feel like a student driver having to pause, before I step on the clutch>shift into gear>push the gas pedal> slowly let go of the clutch… while at the same time look in all the mirrors and forward to steer where I need to go)
- My fluency is missing. (…yes… that one… the one that I am so used to having with my smartphone, iPad and laptop…so used to it in fact that I usually don’t think about it anymore… I feel illiterate…)
- Tickling behind the ear from speaker that vibrates the bone behind my ear… (…It is a weird feeling…)
- battery life…(…used to battery lasting all day+ with my other devices…) need to build in breaks during the day to recharge..
- Unit gets hot when using too much (especially recording video and googling)
- Long, curly and unruly hair that constantly tangles in front of the camera is a problem in terms of recording, tapping and swiping. (… not cutting my hair or wearing a pony tail is not an option…)
- I was not prepared for the attention and the varied reactions the device evoked in people. (… I am admitting that the varied emotions from colleagues and students have hit me almost like a brick… from super excited to curious, not interested to (not openly) negative and almost hostile emotions. Again, NOT all of the reactions were verbal or bodily clues, but more (strong) waves of emotions directed in my direction… Never quite experienced or was aware of something similar…
- Feeling on the spot when recording… self conscious… what do I say? How does my voice sound?
- I am definitely in the Substitution stage, when looking at using Google Glass through the lens of the SAMR model.
Many colleagues wanted to see what I was seeing and were eager to try the Google Glass on. The easiest instruction, I was able to give, as I could not see what they were seeing on the screen was:
- When you see the time… say “OK Glass”, then “take a picture”.
- Swipe down… then tap on Glass again and swipe forward to see the last images taken.
So far, I was not able to screencast from Google Glass to my iPhone via wifi (it continuous to show me the black screen with the instructions, even though glass and iPhone are on the same network. It is simply too much multitasking to handle Glass, turn off wifi, then turn on bluetooth, then connect iPhone and Glass to be able to demonstrate screencast on the spot…)
It was interesting (also for me) to later see the images the testers had taken..
Here is a selfie to show how I am managing using my reading glasses at the same time as Google Glass. Not the best solution, but it seems to work for now….
Students were lining up after class asking to wear Google Glass in order to give it a try. Most of them had heard of Google Glass. It spread like wild fire throughout our Middle School. There were a lot of “cool” and “wow”. It wasn’t long before Paparazzi also arrived wanting to take a picture of Google Glass as evidence of having seen one.
Students asked to try them on and immediately chose to take selfies. What does that say about the social impact and culture of picture taking?
Do you remember the first email you sent? The first email you received? Remember having to dial in to check your email and not being able to use the phone line while you were online?
Above is a vignette image taken with Google Glass. I was sitting with a new students, helping set up her school laptop. I received a vibration sound behind my ear and looked up from the computer screen at the Glass screen to see that my mother had emailed me an article from the La Nación (Argentinean Newspaper) about how wearing Google Glass could get me into legal problems. The irony of the moment was not lost on me.
I am not the only explorer at our school. A High School student, Bruno, is also a committed user. I felt a sort of camaraderie, as both of us are on the forefront by experimenting and walking a fine line. What is acceptable in a school environment regarding wearable technology and what is not? Bruno has been wearing Glass routinely during the day, showing a much higher fluency and adaptation. He inspired me to make sure that I was only going to find out how Glass was going to transform my work, if I wore it consistently. It reminded me of ” The best camera you will ever have, is the one that you have with you” that pushed my iPhone into the number one position to be followed by my SLR camera.
While my focus of using Google Glass to “explore new worlds” in terms of teaching and learning, Bruno is focused of finding innovative ways to transform and “make his life easier”. His point of view is that of an app developer.
Just as I experienced a myriad of reactions when wearing Glass, a student wearing Google Glass, a technology that all of us (administrators, teachers and peers) are not familiar with, inevitably will bring up anxieties, disruption and fear.
Bruno is dealing with setting the example at our school. What will this mean when more and more students start having these powerful devices and will that mean in terms of teacher/student relationship, student learning, curriculum, assessment practices, what do we consider cheating, how do we deal with multitasking, distractions, inappropriate use of the technology, etc.?
I believe Bruno is aware that he is setting the example and is taking on the responsibility. Our school administrators and teachers are recognizing the need to start the conversation now! WHAT DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY MEAN IN OUR EDUCATIONAL SPACES? They are also recognizing that Bruno is an integral part of that conversation to craft a policy that does not BAN and BLOCK, but encourages exploration and innovation.
I am looking forward to being part of that conversation…
School policy regarding wearable technology were not the only discussion that were sparked by the simple appearance of Google Glass on campus. I have had super interesting conversation about
- the meaning of wearable technology and what does that mean for our future?
- did we not “just” have the same discussion about10 years ago regarding cellphones being disruptive and an invasion of our privacy ? (…I remember the note coming home from my daughter’s school, that it was absolutely prohibited to bring a cellphone to school that had picture taking capabilities…)
- we wondered if in 10 years, we will laugh about how “silly” we/I looked with such a “big” device on our/my head (same type of feeling when we think of the size of our first cell phones or the big air conditioned rooms that held a computer…)
- Freely giving away our private data (GPS location? What do we see at the moment? What words are we googling? etc.) I am not saying that we are not already doing this with other devices, but wearable devices have the purpose of making it even more “natural” and instantaneous to do all these tasks and transmitting and sending them. (… I have to admit I am increasingly more uncomfortable when Google ( or other companies), by default, takes the choice of NOT wanting to share or collect data away from me…
- What about Google Glass etiquette? When is it appropriate? When is it inappropriate? What about in an educational environment? What about in public spaces? (… I am very conscious of etiquette… I know I am walking a fine line as soon as I wear Google Glass… I want to be able to gain the trust of colleagues and students… that I will not take images nor film without making sure that they are aware of the device being on and a “no questions asked” policy if someone feels uncomfortable…)
- How can we use such a “disruptive” device to transform (re-define) what we teach and learn?
I was able to take Google glass into a Science classroom (with permission from the teacher ,of course) and take photos and videos of the students conducting a lab. Google Glass is such a novelty though that students were interested in Glass rather than their lab… most of them begging to wear them…I was very conscious of NOT wanting to disrupt the class (…. will need to make sure that students have a chance to look at them, ask questions and wear them… before I go into the next classroom)
I also wanted to test out wearing Google Glass while driving… yes, I can hear all of you yelling at me from afar. I literally have a 2 minute drive to school… I left a little extra early for even less traffic… and as you will be able to tell from the video, I am a VERY safe driver… looking several times right/left/right/left and one more time, before turning at an intersection…