Over the last couple of months a lot of hype has been built around Google Glass: the wearable augmented reality display. Basically Glass enables wearers to record and stream video, make phone calls, navigate and conduct web searches all with a device that looks like a glass frame without the lens.
So what does this mean for education?
How can we harness such a device for teaching and learning?
Well the first thing to note is in this current age teaching and learning is not bound to the classroom. More and more learning is being moved to online and blended formats. So naturally we have to think about how we could use Google Glass to augment online learning. Two important elements necessary to building effective online learning are social presence and community. Imagine being unbound from the usual four walls and being able to connect with colleagues anytime, anywhere and literally on the Go?
A few thoughts on possible applications:
- Learners could share virtual tours without necessarily having to be together physically.
- Capture class lectures and discussions for later review
- Imagine teaching dissection using Google Glass
- Attend live events virtually
Now you’ll notice that most of what I have written above can be done now with smartphones, tablets and any portable laptop. So what makes Glass’ implementation so unique?
Perhaps its portability might be a factor but at this point I think as with any other technology used in education, the first adopters will use devices like glass for the same tasks they have done before. Its a process required in order to get over the learning curve and become comfortable with the device. Marshall McLuhan once said that we tend to use new tools for old tasks until some driving force causes us to use them in new ways.
Perhaps akin to Piaget’s Assimilation stage users need to take this tool and incorporate it within their existing knowledge framework. Once they become comfortable with it then we can start to imagine truly unique and innovative ways of using Glass.
Of course as its priced right now ($1500) Google Glass will probably remain out of the hands of the average consumer but when it eventually becomes mainstream there should be interesting conversations about its role in education.