Google Glass could alter learning, classrooms

Google Glass is an incredible advancement in technology, with features that will allow users to access many of their phone’s capabilities simply by wearing glasses. While such technology will have its time and place, the classroom will not be one of them.

By saying “OK Glass,” consumers will be able to tell the device to record a video or take a picture, offer the user step-by-step directions or connect to an Android phone to send and receive messages through voice-to-text functionality, which can also act as a translator.

Apple iPhone users who use Siri, the iPhone’s built-in personal assistant, won’t come close to having the power and capabilities of people with Google Glass, which is best illustrated by Google’s “How It Feels” video.

Before it even hits the market, Google Glass has already been banned in some vehicles, strip clubs, bars, casinos and movie theaters due to its video- and photo-taking abilities, according to the Huffington Post. While the exact release date has yet to be decided, TechRadar said it expects Google Glass to be available to consumers in late 2013 or early 2014, and college classrooms should be added to the list of banned locations before then.

As members of this tech savvy generation, there’s no doubt that Google Glass will be the next big thing we all want.

It’s obvious that Google Glasses’ features could lead to cheating in class, but professor Albrecht Classen of German studies said he is more concerned about preserving the learning environment.

Classen said he could see the device being used as an effective educational tool in some college programs, but not all.

“In sciences maybe, but not here,” Classen said.

For those attending medical school, the glasses could put students in a virtual operating room, allowing them to experience complex medical operations through their own eyes. But for other programs, like the humanities, Google Glass could actually hinder learning.

“In humanities, we need critical thinking,” Classen said.

Classen teaches the Eroticism and Love in the Middle Ages course, a class of 300 people with a zero-tolerance policy for electronics.

Students don’t bother to memorize information anymore because they can simply search for the answer online whenever they need it, Classen said.

With laptops, tablets and smartphones, the classroom environment has experienced a shift. Technology has separated us from the need to truly memorize and master information, and Google Glass could worsen this trend.

“I have doubts that this [Google Glass] would be good for a learning environment,” Classen said. “It robs us of the chance to experience it ourselves [and] deprives us of the most essential learning experience.”

Classen said he would have to take everything offline and discontinue posting anything if this technology was used in his class.

Professors would have to create policies and adjust routine syllabi to prevent students from using Google Glass in classrooms in an effort to promote learning and discourage cheating.

Although Google Glass can absolutely be used in many positive ways, if not banned from the classroom, it could also threaten students’ college learning experiences more than commonplace technology already does.

Ashley T. Powell is senior studying journalism. Follow her on Twitter.com/@ashleytaylar.


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