Google Glass Augmented Reality in Classrooms

Google Glass

New technologies that have sprung up over the years have been adopted by educationists in a drive to improve the quality of education. Google glass integrated with augmented reality is one technology that also has potential in the education sector. Though the technology is still in the development stage, it is already making inroads into the medical sector, architecture and even in the movie industry. At present, Glass users can have the augmented reality experience on the Layar platform but Google’s augmented reality glass is still not available for the general public. Despite this, educators have started thinking about how they can use Google’s augmented reality glass in classrooms and how this can advance education.

At the moment, teachers face a great challenge in describing complex concepts in a way all students can understand. This is especially true when a teacher is trying to explain such things as how a particular machine works or describe animal anatomy. Currently, the only teaching aids teachers can use are white or black chalk walls, videos, 2D charts and 3D models. 3D models are very effective but it is difficult to have models of every animal or building in the world in a single institution. Additionally, teachers simply do not have enough time or resources to take students to museums every day. Using Google Glass augmented reality in classrooms could turn out to be more economical and effective than 3D models or museums.

Augmented reality is a fun way of learning new things because it can turn a student’s immediate environment into a magical world. When it is combined with a more immersive future Google glass design, an astronomy class could easily turn into a trip into space. Each student will still be able to see the teacher and the other students in the classroom, so teacher instructions will not be affected. A good example of immersive technologies is the Oculus Rift.The Oculus Rift is quickly becoming popular with gamers because it puts the gamer into the game. Google could adopt a similar concept for its augmented reality glass. Students wearing this immersive technology could possibly pay more attention during lessons and as a result be able to retain more of what is being taught by the teacher. Consequently, instances where students check their phones or read novels under their desks could lessen significantly.

Glass integrated with augmented reality could also change how teachers interact with students. Teachers could walk into classrooms and immediately be able to tell which student is absent and monitor each student’s grade in a particular subject. In fact, last year, a group of scientists in Spain created a software system for augmented reality glasses that will help professors to see whether students understand class material. Professors wearing these augmented reality glasses see symbols above the students’ heads, which helps enhance communication between students and professors. The scientists named the proposed system Augmented Lecture Feedback System (ALFS). If Google acquires the ALFS system for Glass, it will be a major milestone for teacher-student class interaction.

For now, Google Glass is still very expensive and only wealthy institutions of learning can afford to buy them for students. In addition, most marketing campaigns for Glass integrated with augmented reality seem to push the technology only for general use. Although the potential school uses are exciting, teachers will have to wait a little longer for a well-developed Google Glass augmented reality in classrooms.

By Michael Obunga

The New York Times
EDTECH Magazine

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