Seeing Double: UAF’s eLearning wins two pairs of Google Glasses
Kaz Alvarez/Sun Star Reporter
Dec. 10, 2013
UAF eLearning and Distance Education received two sets of Google Glass, Explorer Edition to test at the university and around the state.
Last spring, Google invited 10,000 people to use the hashtag on Twitter and Google+, and say what they would do with a Google Glass, Explorer Edition set to help Google beta test the device’s features. Google Glass is a wearable computer with a head-mounted camera and display that can take photos, record videos, translate signs or speech, surf the web or play games.
eLearning Instructional Designer Jennifer Moss,
tweeted her idea to take photographs of the aurora in her backyard with the tag #ifihadglass.
Winners of the contest became part of Google’s Explorer Program so that they could shape the development of the Google Glass device. The contest is open to U.S. residents and contestants are admitted as slots open up.
“It was kind of spur of the moment,” Moss said. Photographing the aurora would test the device’s functionality in negative temperatures and the quality of the camera.
The device has a battery stored next to a touch pad bar above the right ear where it can be kept warm by a hat and body heat. The camera and a small cube of glass is located above the right eye. The cube of glass acts as a small screen featuring a menu that can be manipulated by tapping and swiping the touch pad. Glass has WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities for instant sharing of information.
The smart headware is compatible with Google Apps and Google+. Because their app directory has a limited selection at this early point in its development, Google is encouraging individuals and groups to submit designs and ideas for apps, referred to as Glassware.
Since receiving Glass, Moss has taken her set with her when skiing at below 10 temperatures and also attempted to record the Perseid meteor shower. Moss will be attempting to photograph the aurora after attaching a fisheye lens to the the camera. The fisheye lens provides the photographer an expanded view of an area and enlarges the center of the image.
After entering the contest, Moss was able to invite Marissa Carl-Acosta eLearning and Distance Education Marketing Specialist who also received a set of Google Glass to beta test. Together, they invited other instructional designers from the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Southeast to purchase the glasses.
“There is going to be a big wave of technology,” Moss said. “How can we, as educators, harness that power?”
With two Google Glass sets available, Moss is looking at how these devices can be utilized in education at UAF. The smart head wear is meant to be less of a distraction than a phone or camera and can be used to record lectures
or take photos of whiteboards to share on a Google+ community.
“I’m happy to collaborate with some of the faculty members to try it out and see if Glass would be a viable technology for their courses,” Moss said.
Updated at 4:32 p.m., December 10, 2013: In the original article Google Glass Explorer Edition was incorrectly referred to as Google Glass Explorer. The article incorrectly stated that UAA and UAS were invited to enter the contest. UAA and UAS were invited to purchase the glasses. The article has been updated to reflect these corrections. The title of the article has also been updated to accurately reflect the department’s name, in shorthand format.