Posted by: crudbasher | June 28, 2012

What Google Glass Means To Education

This week is the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. This conference is a developer conference where Google unveils new technologies.

The big stir was the keynote yesterday where Google showed off the Google Glass project. This is am augmented reality system which looks like a pair of glasses. Their demo was truly amazing so first watch the 5 minute demo and then I’ll comment on it a bit.

Very very cool stuff! There are two pieces to what you just saw.

Hardware

Google is the opposite of Apple. Apple is a hardware company that make software. Google is a software company that makes hardware. It’s an important distinction because it provides the limitations to the products they produce. For example, if you want Apple software, you need to have Apple hardware to run it. The plus side is the software runs very well on the hardware because they control the whole system. The minus side is since it’s a closed ecosystem, your data goes in, but it doesn’t come out.

Google is a very open model. They want their software to run on any hardware system. On the plus side it means your data can go anywhere and be with you always. (sounds like Star Wars) On the minus side the hardware is of varying quality because Google is just providing a platform spec.

Make no mistake, Google doesn’t want to sell Google Glasses. They want other companies to create their own versions and sell them instead. They key point here is they would all use Google software.

Software

In the demo video, the most amazing part to me is the software making it all work. All the participants video streams were visible at once in the Google+ Hangout room. They were able to seamlessly talk together and share their points of view. Regardless of what happens to Google Glasses, this video conferencing technology is amazing (and free!!).

Education implications

There are several ways this technology will affect education in the future. Some are obvious and some are not so much.

Did you know there are actually professional video gamers who play in tournaments for lots of money? I watch live streams online of some of these gamers. Can you imagine when people start streaming what they are doing using Google Glasses? Imagine if some of the athletes in the Olympics start streaming what they are seeing live? (probably for a fee.) Or watching the view of your favorite sports players? It could be a whole new revenue stream.

Students will eventually start showing up to class with AR glasses. By that time, they will have many live streams they will be able to watch rather than pay attention to a lecture. Of course it will be easy to ban them, thus cementing the reputation of public education as out of touch with the real world, in this case literally!

Of course, the more adventurous teachers will see the beneficial uses of this technology. Imagine teaching a unit on the Egyptian Pyramids and being able to connect up with an Egyptian tour guide live and have the class experience them! How about a scientist in Antarctica? Or on the International Space Station? This opens up a world of semi-experiential learning.

But here’s the thing: why do you have to be in a classroom to do this? You could do it equally well in an online class. Once you separate the teacher and the student, it doesn’t matter how far away they are.

There is one more thing that I thought of that could be massively disruptive. How about if a student starts livestreaming their class? Basically they would be broadcasting the class session to the world. How many teachers would be ok with that? If not, why not?

One thing is for sure, like a coming storm the technology will be here soon. We had better start thinking about how to deal with it.

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Responses

  1. Crudbasher,

    I know you’ve said it over and over… but it always has the same “aha!” affect on me…

    Once you separate the teacher and the student, it doesn’t matter how far away they are.

    This is a storm front – for sure!

    Great article, Kent

    • Heh thanks Kent! It was an aha moment for me too when I realized it. The origin of the idea though comes from something Werner Van Braun said before Apollo 8.

      Some NASA people were discussing where to send the first manned flight of the Saturn V rocket. He wanted to send it to the moon, but others thought to do a test flight in Earth orbit first. He then said the following:

      “Once you decide to man a Saturn V, it doesn’t matter how far you go”.

      I liked that. He was saying that big step is to fly on a Saturn V, not where it goes. The big step in education is online, after that the distance is not important.

      As always, thanks for commenting my friend!!

  2. […] get into. This sort of thing will happen much more in the future but imagine if you tie it into Google Glass? Those are the prototype Augmented Reality glasses from Google. They have a camera built into them […]

  3. […] Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. […]

  4. […] Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. While many students today manage to use smartphones and tablets in class without texting friends or surfing the web, that isn’t to say that these devices aren’t potential distractions. When they’re transformed into glasses, the potential for distraction is even greater, as the technology is, literally, right in front of students’ faces. The glasses could make it hard to teachers to keep students on task and to encourage them to think for themselves rather than just referencing information on their glasses. In order to prevent this, schools will need to develop strong plans of action to deal with classroom use, especially in test-related situations where cheating could become an issue. […]

  5. […] 3. Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. […]

  6. […] anywhere – Field trips will take on a whole new dimension – They can remove the language barrier jQuery(document).ready(function(){ […]

  7. […] Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive.While many students today manage to use smartphones and tablets in class without texting friends or surfing the web, that isn’t to say that these devices aren’t potential distractions. When they’re transformed into glasses, the potential for distraction is even greater, as the technology is, literally, right in front of students’ faces. The glasses could make it hard to teachers to keep students on task and to encourage them to think for themselves rather than just referencing information on their glasses. In order to prevent this, schools will need to develop strong plans of action to deal with classroom use, especially in test-related situations where cheating could become an issue. […]

  8. […] Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. […]

  9. […] Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. While many students today manage to use smartphones and tablets in class without texting friends or surfing the web, that isn’t to say that these devices aren’t potential distractions. When they’re transformed into glasses, the potential for distraction is even greater, as the technology is, literally, right in front of students’ faces. The glasses could make it hard to teachers to keep students on task and to encourage them to think for themselves rather than just referencing information on their glasses. In order to prevent this, schools will need to develop strong plans of action to deal with classroom use, especially in test-related situations where cheating could become an issue. […]

  10. […] Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. While many students today manage to use smartphones and tablets in class without texting friends or surfing the web, that isn’t to say that these devices aren’t potential distractions. When they’re transformed into glasses, the potential for distraction is even greater, as the technology is, literally, right in front of students’ faces. The glasses could make it hard to teachers to keep students on task and to encourage them to think for themselves rather than just referencing information on their glasses. In order to prevent this, schools will need to develop strong plans of action to deal with classroom use, especially in test-related situations where cheating could become an issue. […]

  11. […] 3. Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. […]

  12. […] Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. While many students today manage to use smartphones and tablets in class without texting friends or surfing the web, that isn’t to say that these devices aren’t potential distractions. When they’re transformed into glasses, the potential for distraction is even greater, as the technology is, literally, right in front of students’ faces. The glasses could make it hard to teachers to keep students on task and to encourage them to think for themselves rather than just referencing information on their glasses. In order to prevent this, schools will need to develop strong plans of action to deal with classroom use, especially in test-related situations where cheating could become an issue. […]

  13. […] Disruptive technology may actually get more disruptive. While many students today manage to use smartphones and tablets in class without texting friends or surfing the web, that isn’t to say that these devices aren’t potential distractions. When they’re transformed into glasses, the potential for distraction is even greater, as the technology is, literally, right in front of students’ faces. The glasses could make it hard to teachers to keep students on task and to encourage them to think for themselves rather than just referencing information on their glasses. In order to prevent this, schools will need to develop strong plans of action to deal with classroom use, especially in test-related situations where cheating could become an issue. […]

  14. […] become a new age of cognitive theory, which if directed in a positive manner, facilitates an age of innovation, health, independence and quality of life unknown to previous generations? But, if we, as educators […]

  15. […] have previously predicted that we will see new ways to experience sporting events such as telepresence, and remote […]


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