How Can You Use Wearable Technology In The Classroom?
We’re not quite at the stage of all being cyborgs, but the wearable computing market is growing, and the number and type of devices is also increasing. One form in particular that has a great deal of potential for many hands-free uses is the HUD (Heads Up Display) mounted in the form of goggles or glasses.
These types of wearables already come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from as light as the Google Glass to the more bulky Oculus Rift (which was acquired by Facebook in Mar 2014 for $2B). The Rift isn’t exactly something you can use in everyday activities, given its form factor and that it covers half your face. However, the Google Glass is lightweight and seems almost unobtrusive. It also has a lot of uses for education — be it for grade school, high school, college, or beyond.
For convenience sake, we’ll refer to uses of Google Glass, but presumably many of the following would apply to any similar HUD device.
General Connected Ed
Connected education comes in many forms and goes beyond classrooms and to those of us long-since finished school. Here are a few possible uses of wearable technology in education.
- Can be used for work training, for special procedures or equipment.
- Could be used by athletes to supplement workout footage that might be taken by a coach, in order for the athlete to learn to improve.
- Could be used by coaches to demonstrate a technique from their own perspective. For example, a track and field coach might record how they approach a high jump while athletes in training are watching, and can later watch the coach’s viewpoint.
- Could be used for a variety of how-to videos. For example, to augment cooking videos with footage from the perspective of the chef, including voiceover.
- Language learning tool combined with Google Translator.
- Distance learning via Glass, instead of on a computer or laptop.
Public and Private School Education
Many of the following are actual uses by grade school teachers, but several uses apply to high school and college as well. Applications range from student-worn uses of Google Glass to teacher-worn uses.
Grade School and High School
- Getting students acquainted with the technology.
- For students to document (still photos, video) their classroom activities, or during field trips to a farm, garden (or museum, etc). This could be done with a video camera, but it’s so much easier with the Glass, leaving both hands free.
- For learning while participating. E.g., learning about snowflakes, outside, while looking at actual snow.
- For making short instructional / how-to films, which can show the point of view of the Glass wearer. E.g., one teacher asked students to use Glass to teach people how to do something, such as ride a bike.
- To record practice videos. E.g., students can wear Glass while solving a math problem, to record the process and provide voice over. These videos can be emailed to parents for students practice.
- Diagnostic videos. Students can wear Glass and record activities such as applying a certain painting style, building something, etc., which allows teachers to review students’ motor skills.
- To record student presentations and performances for later viewing.
- Tool for students to create visually-rich presentations.
- Quick voice-based search for instructors for related topics or past class material, which can then be screencast to students or to an overhead projector (possibly via a smartphone or tablet).
- For live field trips, to supply information and instructions to a group from an app that a teacher would control — say on a smartphone or tablet.
- Since Glass has GPS, teachers could monitor students during field trips.
- Virtual field trips. Andrew Vanden-Heuvel teaches advanced physics mostly online to students at schools without such classes. He also used Glass to transmit his tour of the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Europe to students watching via Google Hangouts.
- To encourage remote group work amongst students, or for students to help each other with homework.
- For remote tutoring, whereby tutor and student can use paper at both locations instead of screen sharing software.
- Remote class for students at home, sick enough not to attend school but well enough to participate remotely. (Teacher would broadcast the class.) This also works for homeschooled students, for supplemental courses.
- Attendance taking tool for teachers, using facial recognition software.
- Teachers can capture notes about classroom activities in Evernote Glassware version for later consumption on a different computing device.
- Teachers can record their own teaching process and use the video for review, or provide them to student teachers for their learning purposes — either as a live broadcast or for later viewing.
- For assessing the performance of student teachers, who would wear the Glass and record their classes.
- For orientation of new students at colleges or large high schools.
- For identifying buildings by combining Google Goggles mobile app and an on-campus map.
- For displaying supplemental material during lectures.
- For closeup viewing of lab demonstrations when there isn’t room for all students to stand close by.
- For safe viewing at a distance of lab experiments that are potentially dangerous — whether broadcast from Glass or to Glass (one per student) or to an overhead screen.
- Screencasting takes on a new angle, literally — from the perspective of the lecturer.
- Class schedule for easy access.
- Medical training: teaching student doctors surgery techniques.
- One doctor is using Glass to record medical techniques applied to mannequins, with discussions to follow with students in Google Hangouts.
- In one scenario, a live recording from Glass to remotely teach students.
- In another scenario, one doctor was preparing to operate on the “patient” (mannequin), with an assistant broadcasting the operation with an iPad to a remote doctor wearing Glass to view the procedure. The remote doctor could then advise on the operation. In the meantime, students in another room could also watch the procedure