The rapid growth of wearable technology, such as smart glasses, offers opportunities to deliver personalised, digital content in dynamic new ways (Martin, EJ 2014). Technology used to supplement and support activities can be either retention enhancing on the one hand or distracting and disruptive on the other, depending on how on target its relevance is (Norman, D, 2013).
All technologies grow organically and ‘begin life in the excitement of creativity and the intention of doing something different’ (Laurillard D, 2002). Wearable technology, in general, is anticipated to grow substantially in the coming years and voice-activated, hands-free devices that can record through-the-eye perspective offer affordances in a range of highly skilled activities and tasks.
Throughout 2015, the University is offering students the opportunity to inform the way smart glass technology could be used both in class and on campus. Over four hundred students and staff attended events that were held throughout January and February where they had the opportunity to try out the technology for themselves.
We invited students to submit ideas for using smart glasses on campus and are currently supporting fifteen student teams to run pilots that will evidence the value, or not, of smart glasses as supportive technology in Higher Education.
Our approach has put students at the centre of the initiative, drawing on their experience of teaching and learning in the university to steer appropriate uses of these emerging technologies. It also created opportunities for experimentation and risk-taking as well as opportunities for staff across the whole institution to collaborate with students in shaping the potential future use of these technologies.
Three main themes emerged from the student proposals. Firstly, the theme of an interactive campus; offering opportunities to layer virtual spaces with physical spaces, and create opportunities to orientate students around campus in meaningful and interactive ways.
Secondly, enhanced learning and teaching; examples of which included using instructional guidance in the real-time undertaking of complex tasks as well as recording behaviours and reactions in controlled scenarios to review and evaluate one’s own practice.
The third theme was innovation and build; identifying the potential for new uses of the technology to improve on campus services or in class support.
We anticipate that by September we will be able to present the outcomes of a number of the pilots that are currently running and are confident that the outcomes of this project will be of great interest to participants at this conference.
Laurillard, D (2002) “Rethinking teaching for the knowledge society”, EDUCAUSE, vol. 37, no. 1
MARTIN, EJ. Ready-to-wear content: Google Glass and other devices provide new opportunities for publishers. EContent. 2, 16, 2014. ISSN:1525-2531.
Norman, D The paradox of wearable technologies: can devices like Google Glass augment our activities without distracting us from the physical world? Technology Review (Cambridge, Mass.). 5, 101, 2013. ISSN: 1099-274X.