Reviewing Google Glass for the Classroom – 5 Big Takeaways

Margaret A Powers is a Technology Coordinator working with students and teachers in Pre-K through 2nd Grade and a Technology and Education Consultant specializing in social media, early childhood, and global education. She is a Reggio-inspired educator who loves working with young children and is always learning.

This past weekend, I traveled to Chelsea Market in New York City so that I could visit Google and pick up my pair of Google Glass.

I have been anxiously awaiting my invitation to go and get them since I first received notification that I was one of the winners of their #IfIHadGlass competition.

As I tweeted below, one of the things I’m most excited to do with Glass is use it with my students and their teachers. With that in mind, I have been exploring what’s possible with Glass and trying to learn the nuts and bolts of it slowly over the past few days.

I still feel like I have a lot to discover but my big takeaways so far are:

1. There’s a lot of potential for growth!

There are currently only 11 apps that work with Glass, including Google+ (the main hub for activity and sharing), which means that its capabilities are a bit limited. That said, I think that as more apps are developed the possibilities for Glass will continue to increase at a fast pace. Hopefully educators will be involved in that process and able to influence what’s being developed.

 

2. You can take almost instant, high quality pictures

There are multiple ways to take a picture with Glass. You can navigate to the command via the touchpad, talk to Glass, or simply press the button on top. If you choose the last route, you are able to take pictures extremely quickly and regardless of how you get there, the images are wide and of good quality. They probably won’t replace your class camera if it’s been updated in the past few years but if you’re on a field trip and need to be hands-free or you’re looking to document students’ learning quickly and unobtrusively, I think Glass could be a great tool.

 

3. Your can grow home-school connections via Tumblr

When I reviewed the different apps that are available for Glass, I was excited to discover that Tumblr is one of them. Serendipitously, I chose Tumblr for my blogging platform when I found out I’d be getting Glass and now, I can easily post to Tumblr via the Glass app. For now, Tumblr is the only blogging platform that you can post to directly from Glass, which means it’s probably the best option for sharing with families during the day. Through Glass, you can document a class experiment or record a visitor who has come to speak to your class and then immediately post it to Tumblr for families to see.

Google Glass Sky

4. The 10 Second Video Limit is Cumbersome

When you take video using Glass, the default is only 10 seconds. You can extend the video by tapping Glass or using a voice command but that requires you to be more focused on the video and the device than I think Google is aiming for with Glass. I’m guessing the timing is to encourage users to capture short, meaningful clips that can be easily shared but that might not always be ideal in a classroom setting. In theory. Glass allows educators to be fully engaged in dialogue with students, busy working with them on a lesson or even involved in creative play while still able to seamlessly document the learning that’s happening. Luckily, after the first extension, Glass seems to record until you tell it to stop.

 

5. Finally, WiFi can be a bit tricky

Glass has more restrictions than I imagined when it comes to getting an Internet connection. Since there’s no data connection available on Glass, if you’re outside of a WiFi zone, you have to either create a hotspot with your phone or use tethering to share your mobile connection. Even with WiFi, you have to first sign in to the Glass site and add the network and then scan the QR code that appears to get Glass to recognize the network. I think this can also be done via the MyGlass app on an Android phone but being an iPhone user, I haven’t been able to test that yet. Additionally, if your network has special characters, such as Fractus_Learning, then Glass won’t recognize it. Since my school network uses a similar name, that creates an added complication that I hadn’t anticipated.

 

Overall, I’m very excited to try Glass out in the classroom, especially the ideas I hear from other students and teachers and I think as Glass and Glass apps continue to develop, there will be even more applications and ways to use it in education.

 

What are your thoughts on Google Glass for the Classroom? Do you think it could be a practical tool? Or do you think it could be a passing fad? Let us know in the comments below.