Jennifer Moss sometimes gets strange looks while skiing down the slopes or walking around downtown. The lingering looks are always because of what she’s wearing on her face: Google Glass.
One of only two original Glass Explorers in Alaska, UAF eLearning has just received the newest version of Google Glass, a wearable technology that looks like a pair of glasses and is equipped with smartphone-like capabilities but can be used hands-free. Currently available by invite only, Google Glass could be a game changer in higher education as it likely will be in everyday life.
Using voice commands and occasionally finger swipes across the rim, wearers can take photos, record video, get directions, translate signs in a foreign language, and much more. Glass is expected to hit the consumer market next year, and Business Insider Intelligence projects that more than 20 million units will be sold annually by 2018.
Moss, an Instructional Designer, earned the first invitation from Google last summer by promising to use the device to record the Aurora Borealis from her backyard at 40 below. That opportunity has yet to materialize, but in the meantime she and the eLearning team continue to help shape the future of this rapidly developing technology.
Glass has been used to train UAF faculty, staff, and students, giving them an exclusive look into the near future of innovative wearable technology. Among other projects in the works, Moss is planning to accompany professors to remote research locations and send the live feed to students located around the world. To promote collaboration, UAF eLearning has shared two much sought-after “Golden Tickets” with the University of Alaska’s Anchorage and Southeast campuses so they can try Google Glass as well. The potential for Glass in UAF classrooms (both on campus and online) is limitless and developing rapidly, to the excitement of UAF’s eLearning staff, which specializes in faculty and course development.