Today I put aside all insecurity and wore my Glass out in public for the first time. I figured, where better to wear such a product, than an EdCamp? After all, the EdCamp movement was built on innovation. Happily, Glass and I were received quite well in the venue. Although, I did get some strange looks when I wore them into the restroom. I guess that is fair. For reference, though, it is quite clear when glass is on. If someone was filming you with glass, the glass eye piece would glow. In the future, however, I will be removing Glass before entering a restroom.
Before I go on about Glass, let me say EdCamp Leadership was my best professional development experience of the summer. The venue was beautiful, the day ran smoothly, and I got to meet extremely talented educators. I feel very fortunate that opportunities like this exist, and I greatly appreciate the time and effort put into creating the event.
So, throughout the day, people asked: “What do you think?” And it was challenging to reply. While I am still very much in awe over the possibilities surrounding Glass, there were some definite set backs. Now that I had time to reflect (on my 4.5 hour drive home), here are my thoughts.
How Did You Get Those?
When Google started the #ifihadglass search. I entered. “#ifihadglass I could further differentiate my PBL experiences.” A few weeks later I got a direct message saying I was selected. Glass is not mailed to you. Pick-ups are made at few locations across the US. I went to the Chelsea Market site. I really enjoyed the experience, and everyone at the site went above and beyond to make you feel welcome. During the visit, I was assigned a personal Glass Guide. She walked me through every step from opening the box to sending my first message.
WiFi. Before we dive into the wifi discussion, I should explain another feature. Glass was designed to be there when you need it and (virtually) invisible when you don’t. So, it turns off quickly when not in use. This is ideal when you are on the go and do not want the distraction. But that is not ideal in regards to multiple log in wifi connections. In order to add a network, a Glass user must visit their unique dashboard, locate the network, enter the password, generate a QR code, scan the code with Glass, and then connect. A lot of steps, but this only needs to be done once for a typical network. However, the network set up today was a major challenge, even on a laptop. It was necessary to reconnect regularly, and the configuration did not allow Glass to save the network. This was a major challenge, and eventually I just gave up (because I was in interesting sessions and I was there to learn). I have not had this issue in my home or on the district wireless.
Voice. Some features of Glass are only available through voice activation. This is obviously not convenient when you are listening to a presenter. So, even when I had Glass on, I needed to use my laptop to Google search.
Camera. My major complaint about the camera is the lack of a zoom function. For example, I was in a session led by Eric Sheninger, and he created a graphic organizer outlining a BYOD roll out. It was great, but I couldn’t use Glass to snap a picture, because I couldn’t get a good shot – even from up close. I am impressed with the overall image quality; it is better than I expected.
Reasons I’m Excited
Flat Classroom. Picture this: Two classrooms in different parts of the country/world using Glass. The students connect through a Google Hangout and proceed to complete a problem (perhaps designing a working catapult or a complicated physics equation). Maybe a teacher can wear Glass on a field trip and invite parents unable to chaperone to connect for certain portions of the trip (also through a Hangout). Chemistry students working on an experiment can document their work through photos hands free, and then send the images to their professor as part of their lab report.
Observation. A principal leaves her cell phone and laptop behind when she goes out into the building for walkthroughs. She captures images through Glass and posts directly to her school Twitter feed. She sends images or a message to her teachers right from Glass. With hands free, the principal can easily interact with the classroom.
Guest Mode. Glass can be turned on in a Guest Mode. Which allows the user to interact with Glass the same as the owner with a few slight modifications. They can only share information with the owner’s e-mail account – all other share options are disabled. If you have Twitter and Facebook connected to Glass, your feeds are blocked from the Guest User. The user can still capture pictures and make searches. The major downfall is that Hangouts are also disabled. I think if I am just having a student try on Glass, Guest Mode will work. However, if I am going to have students use Glass for an extended period of time, I will turn off the Twitter and Facebook feed. This change is fairly easy using the My Glass dashboard. I want students to connect with the world outside the classroom walls, but I am glad there are tools to ensure they are sharing in positive ways.
So, what are your thoughts? Any other questions I didn’t cover? What do you want to see Glass do? Feedback and comments are greatly appreciated.