Rhetoric and Reality: State-of-the-actual-use of Google Glass in an Educational Context

Robert Fitzgerald, Alexander Hayes, Matt Bacon, Braden McGrath, Lee Yu
Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Mathematics
University of Canberra, Australia

robert.fitzgerald@canberra.edu.au,alexander.hayes@canberra.edu.au,matt.bacon@canberra.edu.au, braden.mcgrath@canberra.edu.au,lee.yu@canberra.edu.au

Cisco (2011) predicts the number of internet connected devices will reach 50 billion by 2020. Google Glass is one such nascent wearable technology that is currently in open beta and generating considerable interest in a variety of professional areas including education and training. Glass is a form of digital or smart eyewear that provides smartphone functionality via voice commands. This paper examines the rhetoric and reality of the actual use of Google Glass in educational contexts. Drawing on fifty public interviews with leading Glass users and the experience of hosting the first Australasian Glass event at the INSPIRE Centre, the paper will challenge common myths around Glass. Five case studies will provide examples of innovation diffusion and the tensions inherent in perceived vs actual, privacy vs transparency, open vs closed and professional vs social. These are suggested as generative of possible ‘middle ways’ that allow us to look with, through and around the potential of Google Glass in an educational context. Acknowledging the risks, tensions and problems of these technologies, the paper concludes by pointing to the need to adopt open, human-centered, collaborative research based design principles and processes, advancing both research and practice as well as empowering those who will later use this technology in an education and training context.

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