Google has been doing something of a PR push lately for their Google Glass product. Basically this is a set of Augmented Reality glasses with very limited functionality. For one, it doesn’t really overlay graphics on reality. Instead it’s more like a head up display found in modern fighter planes.
Whenever I see one of these product concept videos, I immediately think of educational uses. The video even has a few starting at 1:45. First the user asks the glasses to translate a word into Thai. Then a user looks up information about Jellyfish.
Did you notice it didn’t have anything about being in a classroom? What would it look like if it did? Tie together facial recognition, speech to text transcription, and IBM’s Watson (or Google’s version of it, Google Now) and what do you get?
A student will sit down in a classroom and point to their teacher and say transcribe what they say. Using facial recognition the glasses will be able to isolate when the teacher is talking and then transcribe it into notes. Using Google Now it will also be able to look up info about whatever topic is being discussed and offer it into the glasses. If a teacher asks a question, the answer will instantly be available. Is this learning? No probably not, but schools will have to change to reflect this technology.
I will make a few predictions here.
- When this technology first comes to schools it will be banned.
- The reasons given will be privacy (it can take video), and because not everyone will have one (not fair).
- In the next Olympics, at least some of the athletes will wear personal cameras of some kind.
Learning should not be confined to a school. Technology like this will free it.