15 December 2013

Being a Google Glass Explorer

I have been obsessed with Google Glass since I first saw this video on YouTube.  I showed it to my Honors class at the time and said that if I was given the chance to buy one I wouldn't hesitate.  The original pilot for Glass included only industry leaders and companies looking to design apps for the device (now called Glassware).  About 6 months ago, I saw a tweet announcing that they were looking for additional Google Glass Explorers for the second phase of the pilot.  I don't know how I forgot to follow the link, but by the time I remembered, I literally missed the application deadline by less than 6 hours.  I submitted an application anyway and got a very nice email telling me that the deadline had passed, but they would be happy to keep me in mind.

Fast forward to this past Monday.  I open Gmail to find an email from Google Glass telling me I had been accepted into the 3rd pilot and I had 7 days to decide if I wanted to pay the large price tag for one of the devices.  The longest part of the decision making process was figuring out which color I wanted (of the 5 colors, only Tangerine and Sky Blue were left).  I literally ran across the hall to a colleague and asked her to help me make a life-altering decision.  And Tangerine it was!

I ordered the Glass on Monday at 12:30pm EST.  Received an email that my order was being processed about 3 hours later, and another email at 3:30am Tuesday saying they were shipped UPS.  Then came the email at 9:30am THAT SAME DAY saying that UPS tried to deliver them, but I wasn't home.  By 5pm I had the device in my hand.


It's been nearly 2 weeks and I love them.  There are some problems that I will go into in a different post.  I want to talk about some of the projects I am getting involved in to really impact education.

  1. Broadcasting lab experiments--I have a student on home instruction because of having heart surgery and is going to be out for at least a month.  Since I run a flipped classroom, my lessons are already on YouTube so she doesn't miss any of the material.  But, she is going to miss all of the labs we do.  So, one of her friends in the class is going to wear Glass while performing the lab and do a Google Hangout with her.  Labs are performed on Google Docs so the girl will be able to record results and observations right along with her in-class lab partners.  Connected to this idea, we will also be recording our labs and posting to YouTube.  There will be no missed classes anymore.
  2. Art from start to finish--I can only do so much in my room, so I am expanding to the arts wing.  I saw a post of a 4th grade teacher who had her students wear Glass during their art time, recording the entire process.  Working with several students, we are going to record the entire Art process from initial brain-storming and rough sketches to the final product.  All of the time will be recorded as a video, edited together, and run at triple speed to create a 5 minute video of the entire process.
  3. A concert from the perspective of the band--unless you played an instrument, you have no idea what it's like to actually sit in the band while they are playing.  Working with one of our spring concerts, we are going to have a member from each section of the band wear Glass during their final rehearsals.  All of the videos will be edited together to show what a song looks like from the stage.  Unfortunately, Glass came 1 week too late, otherwise we were going to record the marching band performance from the perspective of the band.
  4. In the show--we have several fundraisers in the spring including Dancing With the Teachers.  I think it would be amazing to live broadcast the performance on YouTube so that those who can't make the performance can still witness everything live.
These are just some of my initial thoughts after a week of use.  My students have been having a blast taking pictures of random things in the classroom using Glass and are fighting for the chance to record their labs.  I can't post pictures of my students so below are some pics I have been taking with Glass.
This was my very first picture using Google Glass.  My sons have been obsessed with it, especially my older (not pictured).  He is a real technology junkie.
Glass has a Translate feature.  The original picture is bottom left.  In the upper right you can see how it translated the text using augmented reality.
We got a couple of inches of snow last week.  I was testing out how fast the camera worked on Glass.  You can see just to the right of the garbage can the snow ball my son was throwing at me.  
Google+ has added some interesting features called Auto Awesome.  The snow effect is caused by that.  On Glass, you can make Vignettes, which is basically a picture within a picture.  I downloaded a holiday theme and added it to the upper corner.
The shimmering lights is another Auto Awesome effect.  Again, I used the Vignette feature.
 I think the best part of the camera is how fast Glass takes a picture.  There are so many times that by the time I get my phone out, open the camera app, the opportunity has passed.  Now I have the picture within seconds.

I will post more about my experiences as they happen.  Big things happening in class this week so another post coming by Friday.