Google Glass Users Discuss Research, Projects

Google Glass could be a device straight from a sci-fi film—a futuristic device with the
appearance of eyeglasses and the capabilities of a smart phone. Students and faculty members gathered in Honnold/Mudd Library’s Founders Room on Nov. 13 to present on their own experiences using the technology.

Google Glass came to the Library in fall 2013, when a librarian acquired a pair as one of approximately 40,000 worldwide Google Glass Explorers. Since then, the library has made a number of efforts to tap into the creative and academic opportunities that the technology brings. 7C students and faculty members have been able to rent a pair since spring 2014, when a short application process became available. Over 80 people have worked with the $1,500 equipment, according to librarian Dani Brecher, and have used
Glass in a variety of ways to explore its academic capabilities and possible
functions in everyday life.

Tony Sidhom CM ’17
borrowed a Google Glass from the library while working at the W. M. Keck Science Building on a radioactive dating project over the
summer. He investigated the technology’s effects on a student’s daily life, uses in conducting research and place in a social setting. After examining which features of Glass would be obstructive and which would integrate seamlessly
into daily life, Sidhom found that the voice-to-text functions were accurate and
helpful, while a phone camera would be preferable to the Glass camera.

“Being able to take photos of the experiments hands-free as I
worked really made the project so much easier and time efficient,” Sidhom said. “Whenever I
wanted Glass to do anything, I just used the voice activation, and it worked
pretty well for me.”

Students aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this resource; faculty members are renting Glass as well to discover how it can enhance their teaching methods. Chris Christion,
the gallery manager for the Claremont Graduate University, used Glass in making hands-free tutorial videos for his students as a reference guide for installing artwork. 

“I
wanted to provide a place that students can go so they can refresh this
information in their heads,” Christion said. “Also, I wanted something that was more hands-on in
addition to providing textual information. I think the PowerPoints with
directions synthesized with the videos really help the students.” 

Jon Finnell HM ’16
and Zoab Kapoor HM ’17 also borrowed the Glass last summer to further their project, “MY CS,” which stands for Middle Years
Computer Science. They had created a curriculum to teach computer science to
middle school students and wondered how they could keep students
interested in the subject. Finnell and Kapoor designed a three to four day workshop to
teach both students and faculty members how to use Glass, which included a scavenger
hunt requiring groups of student and professors to find clues
using Glass. 

While Finnell and Kapoor shared the common complaint regarding Glass’ frequent tendency to overheat, they expressed overall satisfaction
with the technology. 

“For going forward, we want to improve
the scavenger hunt and share this technology with as many people as possible,” Finnell said. “We’re also going to send emails to Google and spread the idea
of our project and what we’re doing.”

Like many others before her, Tracey Siepser, a Development Systems Assistant at Claremont Graduate University, was very impressed with the device’s capabilities. She used her Google
Glass to assist in building a website complete with video tutorials and then began to teach her colleagues and students how to use Glass through in-person
tutorials and demonstrations of its uses. 

“I found I really like teaching tech to
people,” Siepser said. “It’s engaging, and as
this technology gets better and more available, you’re going to find
that it just enhances your life.”

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