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Can You See How Google Glass Will Disrupt Higher Education?

Wearable technology will be challenging to manage if colleges aren’t prepared.

The more technology evolves, the closer it gets to our brains. Personal computers brought us face to face with backlit screens, at a comfortable distance of two to three feet. Mobile devices, with their small screens and tiny text, keep users within just 12 to 18 inches. Google is ready to bring technology even closer with their new project, Google Glass.

Last week, Joshua Topolsky of The Verge released his review of this emerging device, which is literally a pair of eyeglasses connected to the Internet. It’s likely the closest to direct brain interface that consumers will see in 2013. Topolsky spent time with the Google Glass team to learn more about why they are developing this technology:

“We wondered, what if we brought technology closer to your senses? Would that allow you to more quickly get information and connect with other people but do so in a way — with a design — that gets out of your way when you’re not interacting with technology? That’s sort of what led us to Glass," [says product director Steve Lee]. I can’t stop looking at the lens above his right eye. "It’s a new wearable technology. It’s a very ambitious way to tackle this problem, but that’s really sort of the underpinning of why we worked on Glass," [Lee says].

I get it. We’re all distracted. No one can pay attention. We’re missing all of life’s moments. Sure, it’s a problem, but it’s a new problem, and this isn’t the first time we’ve been distracted by a new technology. Hell, they used to think car radios would send drivers careening off of the highways. We’ll figure out how to manage our distraction, right?

Maybe, but obviously the Glass team doesn’t want to wait to find out.

Read I used Google Glass: the future, but with monthly updates on The Verge.

In short, Google hopes to solve a problem that the influx of mobile devices has created: Users are constantly distracted by devices in their pockets. What if the gap between humans and technology could be eliminated? It’s an interesting concept, and one that other companies are sure to explore in the coming years. The New Media Consortium predicts that wearable technology is one of the next big things in higher education.

What impact will wearable technology like Google Glass have on college students? While we are years away from needing to deal with this issue, IT departments, and professors in particular, should begin planning a strategy now.

What will you do the first time a student walks into your classroom wearing web-enabled eyeglasses? Are you okay with students taking videos or photos in your class or using the glasses to receive information faster than other students? Smartphones were a disruption, but wearable technology is likely to be even more of a challenge to manage.

What are your thoughts on wearable technology, such as Google Glass, on college campuses? Let us know in the Comments section.

Feb 26 2013

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