Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Glass: 7 amazing uses in learning

Google Glass is due to be launched in 2013 and like all innovations will take time to find its feet. Much is made of smartphones and tablets in mobile learning but these are still clumsy ‘hand-held’ devices. Wearable technology, that is simply there in line of sight, may finally have arrived. We know that it will be both voice and finger activated with bone vibration technology for hearing and allow us to learn in the following ways:
1. Record video & pictures
Record a lecture, presentation, slide, conversation, bits of TV or browsing the web. This could be a sort of Evernote function through video, audio and images. This habitual capture of relevant learning experiences is now a key method of informal learning. Note that the prototype also promises a ‘search pictures’ function.
2. Learn by doing
Learning by doing will be eminently possible using playback video, audio, text and images. Initially one can learn skills through exemplar video (see video as MOOP (Massive Online Open Pedagogy)). At the next level a step-by-step walk-through as you perform the task. At yet another level you can perform and video the task for assessment. This will be a boon to those learning vocational and practical skills.
3. Search
Search was the first major MOOP (see search as MOOP). With search you have unparalleled access to the hyperlinked (see hyperlink as MOOP) world of knowledge. It is this ability to simply call up what you need at the very moment you look at or do something that can really enhance experience.
4. Translate
We have long known that language learning is slow and ponderous in the classroom and that it needs immersion, regular practice and reinforcement. Presenting common phrases and vocabulary in context and through spaced practice is one idea. More powerful uses of language could be encouraged through task-based learning, with support on the Google Glass display.
5. Use Google Now
As an extension of Google Search, Google Now enables personalised search and retrieval on cards that are be tailored to your personal learning needs, based on repeated use . It uses Knowledge Graph to analyse meanings and connections that make the presentation of learning material more relevant in terms of pre-requisites and adaptive learning.
6. Communication & collaboration
First, you can communicate with messages. Google Glass also comes with Google Hangout, promising higher levels of interaction with your tutor, teacher, trainer or instructor or other learners in collaborative learning. More specifically, for practical, vocational learning, you can imagine being ‘talked through’ an event or get feedback on a performed action.
7. Reinforcement
Edited down Google Now cards could then be retrieved and used to reinforce learning to shove it from short to long term memory. We may finally have the solution to that age old problem – the forgetting curve. Specific applications could take learner-generated cues from a specific course, lecture or presentation, and present them at spaced intervals.
Powerful mobile pedagogies
This is a pretty powerful set of seven mobile pedagogies. Each and every one has huge learning potential. This goes well beyond the plethora of other basic information applications, such as getting directions, weather, news etc. So, if they can overcome the issue of social adoption, we could be on to something.
This is the first move to technology that simply taps directly into the senses. You can see the display at any time, You can say things and it will listen and react. You can hear things directly. You can touch to control. With its camera it is always pointing where you are looking - another interface leap. It is the truly invisible in the sense that it is not visible to the wearer. I'm almost never aware of the fact that I'm wearing glasses. This is what makes it special and more interesting than the much talked about iWatch. It's invisibility is its primary virtue. Expect an initial slew of GPS games that you can play in real locations. If you want to see how this could work conceptually, watch this Battlefield game.
However, it does have to content with its high visibility to others. Whether it will become cool or calamitous depends on whether they can tap into the Ray Ban, or other style brands, to overcome its Google-ass type quality. In time, and Google says this is merely the first iteration, we know that it will become smaller and even more invisible, perhaps totally invisible as the battery, electronics and camera are hidden entirely within a normal sized frame.
As you don't need to put it in your pocket or bag or on the table, it has the advantage of being less prone to loss or theft, although we can quickly expect a few grab and run incidents. This is no small advantage.
Expectations for Google Glass are riding high. Some expect this to be the product that Apple wishes it had invented, establishing Google as the new post-Jobs Apple. Whatever the truth, it is a ground-breaking product with enormous potential. It promises to put mobile learning on the map, as it is an always there, hands free device that plays to the idea that learning needs to be part of one’s everyday life and reinforced through habit and spaced practice. For a good review of the product and to see it being used, watch this video.


mura nava said...

slightly startled by a severe lack of any objectivity, this reads like a Google PR release.

e.g. language learning IS difficult, having faster/better access/use to say Google translate may mean people won't bother to actually learn a language - a common observation now with learners and Google translate that language teachers note.

wonder how hackable the hardware will be? any info on whether it will actually use a version of Android?


David Perring said...

As we have seen with the "smartphone" market, the more interesting thing about Google Glass is potentially the app ecosystem that develops around it. That may be the real inflection point for this technology - the point where it starts to support specific "use cases" developed not by Google but by the wider community. And it may be the "lack of embedded additional technologies" in Google Glass that others may be able to exploit. In the long term this is far from just being a Google story...

John Rogers - Learning in Practice said...

Donald, thanks for the posting

Something to add here, which I've been following for a while, is a group that was founded from the Human Dynamics Lab at MIT caled Sociometric Solutions. They have developed a smart technology badge to monitor social interactions

I'm interested by what sensing technology like this and Google Glass can show us about how we work, how we interact with others, how collaborate and so on. And just maybe this is the moment when the field of management learning can be turned on its head so that we can focus on real life observable practices rather than the contrived practice of the classroom.