Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Google Glass in the classroom

Google Glass (Image from Google Glass site)

Google Glass appears in some eyes to be yet another 'shiny device' that schools and education consultants/sellers will jump on and proclaim as the next great device for education. I haven't seen Google Glass apart from the media presented online but I think the naysayers will get this one wrong. 

Education is littered with revolutionary and/or evolutionary technological devices:
  • The BBC Micro
  • PCs of varying age and quality
  • Macs
  • Visualisers
  • Interactive White Boards
  • Netbooks
  • Laptops
  • BeeBots
  • Smart Pens
  • Recorders
  • Tape Players
  • Video recorders
  • DVD players
  • Blu Ray players
  • Audio systems
  • Music Keyboards
  • Game Consoles
  • GPS devices
  • iPad, iPod devices
  • Android devices
The list could go on and on. Many of the devices have fans, many do not. There are those who see no educational benefit in having them whilst others will defend their use and offer research and evidence to back their views. 

Google Glass is a complete unknown. It hasn't even gotten into the public domain yet never mind schools. So how can we even consider it as a device that may or may not offer educational benefits? Will, there is no harm in speculating and that isn't too difficult considering Google Glass won't be a revolution but an evolution in terms of how we interact with technology.

If you have a look at the promotional video and read through the Google Glass 'What it does' site you will immediately recognise many features as an everyday standard in most modern devices. It can record video and take pictures, it captures audio, it can share that with others, it can give you directions, allows you to search online, you can speak to it, send messages and be given translations. Basically it's got many of the features of any mobile smart phone but you wear it on your head as it's a pair of glasses albeit ones with an amazing bit of technology attached. 
So how does it fit into a classroom considering one device costs $1500?

Google Glass costs $1500 now, although I'm guessing it won't cost that when it becomes a worldwide saleable product. I will stick my neck out and say that I can't see it becoming a whole class use device, that is, I could never envisage a class of children wearing Google Glass whilst in class. For now I see this as a device for educators  which could be used to capture evidence of learning unobtrusively. 

Will Google Glass become another expensive technological device consigned to cupboards? We'll have to wait and see.