Google Glass flips the classroom

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Thursday, 21 August 2014 11:57am

Students with disabilities at times require specialist technology in the classroom that is often relevant just for their use. With the yet to be released Google Glass wearable head mounted technology, that scenario appears to be ‘flipped on its head’, with the technology being marketed as mainstream.

Some stories about Google Glass help to explain the technology’s potential. Google Glass appears to provide an opportunity for consumers to access and engage in leisure and learning opportunities without significant access barriers. Telstra have been involved in a trial with b2cloud of prototype apps to support those with hearing or vision loss for use with Google Glass. Tim O’Leary, Chief Sustainability Officer from Telstra, reflected that “there’s a real sort of equity I think with the technology. The design is the same for everybody and that makes a huge difference for people’s self-esteem.”

According to Edudemic, “much of the education process will be flipped as students will be able to view the world through the lens of a teacher (literally) and get a new perspective on learning’’. The flipped classroom concept lends itself to the use of Google Glass technology, with educational technologies assisting students to take more responsibility for their learning, and encouraging the use of higher order thinking, facilitation and concept exploration, to name a few benefits. Essentially the flipped classroom could be considered “a shift from passive to active learning”. In regard to the flipped classroom, it is important to consider what it is and what it is not, as myths abound.

An introductory teacher’s guide to Google Glass is a great place to start exploring ideas, with links to innovative teaching ideas. A research article, Using Neural Input to Control Google Glass, examines the reach of the technology for those with severe motor control disabilities, allowing them to potentially interact “through the use of neural input to Google Glass... and they may have continuous access to their non-traditional AT (assistive technology) and achieve greater independence”.

A timely reminder in the midst of all this excitement is the awareness of accessibility, and any videos produced using Google Glass in the classroom need to be captioned, or audio described ‘in situ’, for students who require these services.

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