google-glassWearable technology will very soon be an everyday part of your student’s lives. Is your school prepared?

If you haven’t seen Google Glass, it’s essentially a computer that you wear on your head. Just like a mobile phone, the device has a WiFi antenna, microphone, camera, and a tiny LCD display screen perched just above your right eye. Using voice commands the wearer can take photos or video, browse the web, access social networking apps, and receive SMS messages and other notifications.

Google claims the device will usurp the smartphone as our primary computing device and, while many argue that this is unlikely, I feel that the impact of Google Glass as a mainstream consumer product is being underestimated.

Wearable technology is going to be a big trend in the next couple of years. It seems like every major technology company — Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, Sony — are in a struggle to first to market with a smart-watch to solidify their smartphone ecosystem. But it’s not just the big players, smaller companies and developing wearable devices with narrowly focused functions — fitness bands, tracking tags, gloves, wristbands.

With this in mind that I had a conversation with a teacher, who didn’t want students wearing Google Glass in his classroom.

Such an invasion of privacy! How could you control such a technology?! Ban them from schools now! Students will be taking inappropriate photos and filming teachers! They’ll be accessing social networks when they should be learning!

Where have we heard this argument before? We’re only just getting to grips with tablets and smartphones and along comes a new technology to get feathers ruffled again.

What is certain is that within a very short period of time both teachers and students will be using wearable technology in your school. If you have a BYOD strategy they’ll be being hooking up to your wireless network, and there will be demand to use these devices in the classroom.

We can’t wait, we should be considering our response to these new technologies to prevent knee-jerk reactions like the one I had above.

As educators we should always look to see the benefits a new technology can bring to teaching and learning first. There may be a technology that is simply too “dangerous” to be used by students — but if there is, I haven’t seen it yet.

How could you take advantage of wearable technology in your classroom? How could it improve communication with students? What new ways to learn could his facilitate?

The tidal wave is coming, either we embrace these new technologies or we will drown. New device form factors will be entering your school within the next couple of years, and there is nothing you can do to stop it, so you might as well prepare for it.


About Author

Profile photo of Karl Rivers

Karl is an award winning Director of IT for the Royal Grammar School Guildford, based near London, England. He has been working in education for more than ten years and founded ClassThink in 2013 to share technology best practice with other schools. In 2014 he won the NAACE Impact Award for support services in schools, and writes edtech articles for Education Executive Magazine.

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