Google Glass, which debuted in 2012, is “wearable” technology. Resembling a lightweight pair of glasses, the device allows users to take pictures, create videos, browse the Internet, use apps and get directions just with the sound of your voice. Images are displayed in the periphery of the lenses, so that vision is unobstructed, and users can share what they are doing or seeing in real time with other people anywhere in the world. Google Glass has made the virtual reality helmets of the past — fodder for science fiction tales — tangible and real. Currently, prospective users have had to apply to purchase Google Glass and applications are now closed. However, more inventory will be released in the near future. The price tag for the early “Explorers” of Google Glass, who were selected from the many applicants, is $1,500.
GOOGLE GLASS IN THE CLASSROOM
Last February, prospective buyers of Google Glass were invited to apply to purchase the devices. Applicants had to describe what they would use Google Glass for if they were selected as early “Explorers.” EWeek reported that science teacher Andrew Vanden Heuvel responded with “…It would transform the way I would teach science, making every moment a teachable moment.” Vanden Heuvel’s response was intriguing enough for him to be selected as one of the first 8,000 “Explorers.” In fact, Google was so interested in Vanden Heuvel’s response that they called him personally and offered to pay to send the science teacher to Switzerland so that he could conduct a science lesson from the site of the Large Hadron Collider, a high-powered particle accelerator. After accepting Google’s offer, a film crew accompanied Vanden Heuvel from his Grand Rapids home to Switzerland, where he was able to conduct a live physics lesson. At the Large Hadron Collider, Vanden Heuvel connected with his brother Ryan’s science class by speaking the command, “OK Glass, hang out with Ryan’s class.” Fifteen students attended the lesson via Google Hangouts, a special Google feature that enables video conferencing and phone calls right from your computer or mobile device. Since delivering this lesson, Andrew Vanden Heuvel has been posting short educational videos on his STEMbite YouTube channel.
THE FUTURE OF GOOGLE GLASS IN EDUCATION
As students across the globe are gaining more accessibility to education from anywhere at any time, Google Glass creates even more global learning opportunities. Mashable shared an infographic from Open Colleges, which details some of the future possibilities of Google Glass. Students from diverse locations will be able to attend the same lessons and tutoring sessions, while Google Glass can be used as an assistive device for students with learning challenges. Teachers can prepare lesson materials more easily while students can create more engaging, interactive projects and presentations. Google Glass can even be a professional development aid, allowing teachers to view other teachers’ lessons or allowing administrators to conduct observations from other locations, removing some of the intimidation factor from this part of the evaluation process. The possibilities are endless and educators and students who need corrective lenses and glasses will soon be able to get prescription versions of Google Glass. A device that seems like it came straight out of science fiction, Google Glass is very much real.