Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Holo Crap! Another one!

Well, it's been over a year since I posted anything on this site.  I guess in the world of interactive glasses, things fizzled out for me.  I did pick up a pair of $40 "spy" glasses from Amazon to use for video recording.  Surprisingly, they're working out well for recording (1080p) and I'm getting about as much useful out of them as I was from Google Glass.  Funny how that works: $1500 for Google Glass and $40 for my spy glasses.  Lesson learned.


On to HoloLens.  I'm interested in this for a couple of reasons and turned off for a couple of more.  First, it's nice to see someone else pushing forward with a wearable, useful system.  Don't get me wrong, other than there being a pair of glasses that houses a computer, the two function quite differently.  Google Glass was to enhance your life and be as inconspicuous as possible.  Microsoft HoloLens is none of that.  They're huge and bulky and ugly.  The main difference is they seem to support a very specific purpose and aren't trying to be trendy or anything mainstream.  Rather, they seem to be trying to be useful and innovative (not to say Google wasn't).

Here's where I stray from my excitement: $3000 for a developer version.  Whew!  It took everything I could muster to convince interested parties in my life that I should spend $1500 on Glass.  How in the world am I going to convince anyone that $3k is going to fly.  Since Google basically said "thanks" with a book as they dropped the program, I hesitate to be another explorer or developer or whatever anyone wants to call it.  I'm all for crowd sourcing and getting product out for people to see, but I feel kind of like a fool after Google refused to fix my broken glass (out of warranty) and their only solution to repair services was to "buy another one."

In the end, I'm receiving emails from Microsoft telling me about HoloLens and I'm following its emergence into the market AND I would like to get my hands on some to see how they work within education BUT fool me once . . .

Monday, February 23, 2015

Removing Glass

Things change rapidly and so has the world of Google Glass.  On January 19th they officially closed the Glass program.

I don't know how to feel about this.  I understand it's a program that was designed to crowd-source development of the product but do I need to feel let down that it's over.  Now I'm stuck with an out-dated no longer supported piece of tech.

I actually feel kind of inspired.  It's the first time I've taken part in something like this and I feel, in a small way, as though I've been part of the development team.  More importantly, I feel like I took a chance and gambled that I was going to be on the cutting edge and there would be value in what I had to say about the technology; especially in how it affects or can affect education.

Now that it's been passed along to another division of Google, or maybe it's a whole different company (maybe they read Passing Glass and were inspired), will there be a future for it or will Google move on to their other wearables (like the 360)?

Here's the next phase for NPSD Glass:  Tech in school.  Not just another laptop or chromebook or another something-we-already-have-and-now-is-faster tool, but cutting edge tech that has the ability to help learning.

I admit, I was drawn in with the cool factor, romanced by the potential and dumped by corporate but I'm not giving up.  I'm evolving to evaluate other types of technology and seeking the opportunity to weed out the bad and promote the good.

I started with TIES in Minneapolis when we presented our findings with Glass and it evolved into a presentation about technology in general, specifically wearable tech.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Here I am back again and haven't worn my Google Glasses in quite a while.  I'm probably going to have to start again soon since Ann, Josh and I are presenting our results at the CESA Google Summit in Green Bay on March 20th.  I'm disappointed still that the support for the program is gone; especially disappointed that I haven't gotten my "reward" book from Google yet.  A hardcover book of images from Glass explorers.

I'm still looking, though, at wearable tech as a good possibility for education.  Google Glass was a good start, but still too consumer-oriented for it to be effective in education.  I was researching a little today and came across a couple of things that look promising.

First, is HoloLens from Microsoft.

This looks promising and could definitely have a place in education.  It's a different avenue than Google Glass.  I see this as having the potential to provide unique, immersive experiences for students in tech ed and science (and who knows what else).  I'm following them on Twitter and planning on finding out about a pilot/developer program that will allow us to try them out here and compare the results to Glass.  We'll see where it goes.

The other promising development is Oculus.  This is more the gaming side of things, but could have the potential to apply to school.  As I delve further into the world of online and blended learning, I can't help but think this experience would go far in providing virtual labs and experiences for students to complete work outside the four brick walls.  The developer kit is $350 so I don't know if it's worth the gamble to try for one and then see where it goes.  I'll be sold on it if there's enough VR support programs that would allow it to enhance learning.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Glass TIES

Follow the video to find us at TIES!

Great audience for our presentation.  Many comments about the honesty we expressed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Back in the Game

Here we go again, I'm rockin' the Google Glass at school and once again taking a fresh look at what's now (to me) old technology.  Funny to say that, really, it hasn't hit the market yet and it's old, familiar and lost its luster.  Is that where we're really at with technology now?  My daughter is looking into an iPhone 6 and I'm just getting used to the idea of the 4s?

So anyway, I'm back to taking a look at the device and continuing my journey.  I wore it at the end of last week; intending to wear it daily and then just forgot about it on my counter.  Saturday was the annual skeet shoot in the UP and I purposefully didn't wear it because a bunch of old paranoid Yoopers with guns is not the place to introduce a camera on glasses.

So I waited until today.

Some thoughts for now:

FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY, the apps are catching up with the device.  It's like when I got my first PDA and all I could use was the calendar.  When they came out with more apps it became more useful and eventually began to evolve into something useful, not just something neat.  By far my favorite app is Pandora.  Not something new but definitely something convenient and attractive.  Some of the apps are obvious commercial connections.  This is to be expected.  I'd like to see the barrier completely dropped and all the third party apps be able to be used easily.  Google's in danger of being as exclusive as Apple.

Still hung up on the camera.  Works great and might just be the most appealing part of the device.

Kids are still interested in it, adults are cautious and curious.

I'll keep playing with it and investigating.

Educationally, it's still up in the air.  I'm going to be looking into it for more

--24 hour break--  (Things get busy in IT)

So, back again.  Wore Glass to work for a second time.  Having issues with it connecting to the Wi-Fi in the buildings so I'll try and work that out down the road somewhere.

Beautiful fall colors this week; hopefully I'll be able to give you some great pics and video of the ER chain from Glass this weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Glass on the Go!

Well, school's back in session and it's time once again to get Glass into the hands of teachers to see what they think.

Before I get to that, I just have to say I've had Glass very little in my hands.  The time I've had it seems to get reactions from people about the camera.

For the first round of 2014/15, John Hayes (Math teacher) is using it for some professional development.

Here's his first post:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Magnifying Glass

It's been far too long since I've posted and it's time to start again.  I've spent the last month really researching and thinking about Glass.  I needed to set it aside and evaluate.  I started using Glass and had it with me everywhere I went.  I wore it at work (arguably the best place for this type of evaluation), I wore it at home and I wore it out in the community.  The whole time I wore it I was talking with people, showing off Glass and generally immersed in the "new tech" side of it.  Many months later, after Glass has passed from person to person, I'm ready for a fresh start.

I found myself in Green Bay yesterday having fun with the kids at Bay Beach Amusement Park.  A combination of carnival rides and, a city park and a small roller coaster, this was a great place to finish off a weekend of camping before heading home.  I didn't bring Glass camping.  Maybe I should have.  There were several times when I thought I wish I had Glass . . .  to capture family moments, video tape my youngest's first roller coaster drop (terrifying . . . we went 7 more times!) and generally be the only one with Glass in the park.  I'm headed to Canada at the end of the week and I'm really torn about bringing it.  I'm going to use a GoPro for action shots (I don't think the Glass battery can make it for all-day fishing) but I'm thinking of Glass for some of the other parts . . . maybe just a head-to-head comparison with the GoPro.

I have to say, after using the GoPro (actually a knock-off version I bought for $40), I'm starting to see the gap between the two.  Boldly, I've made the comparison and questioned if Glass is really that much more special that it's worth the cost.  I mean, the GoPro takes video and pictures and I can mount it just about anywhere.  In the end it comes down to convenience.

Here's an example:  I have a smart phone that does, essentially, what other devices can already do.  If I had a rotary dial phone I could still make calls.  If I had my old bag phone, I could still make calls away from home and in my car.  I can access the Internet on my laptop, desktop and iPad.  I can take pictures with my camera.  Each of these devices does its job well (maybe not so much the bag phone) and very specifically.  I have a smart phone because it does the job better.

In many circumstances, especially where there's a plan and ample time to set it up, using a mounted camera (like the GoPro) makes sense.  Glass is delicate (maybe this is an assumption, at $1500 I'm unwilling to test the limits too much) and the GoPro is tough as nails.  In wet or dangerous situations I'm not willing to put Glass to the test.

This being said, the convenience of Glass -- right there, always ready -- is intriguing and I'm finding many situations that I would have liked to had my camera, phone, computer . . . but I didn't.  Glass is integrated and always ready (OK, the battery could last a little longer).

But I'm doing the evaluation for education, right?  Maybe it's time to stop using the magnifying glass while evaluating it and just start enjoying it.  After all, so many things I've used for education I've discovered in a completely unrelated way.  I'm confident that in the back of my mind I'm always evaluating everything for educational merit anyway.  So, I'm going to start wearing it regularly and finding out what it's capable of outside the "education" realm.

My ongoing task (getting frustrated with this one) is to get other apps on the device.  This "easy" task has been beating me senseless the more I try it.  I'm going to unlock it.  It can't be that hard, many others are already there.  I've followed the instructions online and I'm getting close.  It shouldn't be this hard but, then again, I'm not a programmer so maybe there's something I'm missing.  Actually, this could be the first educational use of the device.  How do you add and write apps for Glass?  Maybe I need to talk to the computer teacher some more.