Saturday, March 29, 2014

Walking in Broken Glass

It's Spring Break.  We escaped from Northern Wisconsin and found a retreat at the in-law's house.  I went for a walk with the dog this morning and was treated to a mostly snowless - definitely flooded area off the bike trail.

I was treated to a plethora of waterfowl, Bailey was teased by a variety of doves hiding in the long grass and I found impressions of gigantic turkey tracks in the soft clay of the trail.  Good morning walk.  While I walked I thought about Glass as a crowd-sourcing tool.  Students wandering about collecting data and experiences and funneling them back to a central collection site.  As an ornithologist's companion, I would expect it to have a focus.  I'll stick to a DSLR or something definitely designed to take a better picture.

After breakfast I couldn't resist doing a little research for the trap club.  OK, so it's for Rachel, but if the trap team could use this and record the 10 seconds or so after "pull" it would be a great way to review their shooting.  BTW, the over-under you see here fits me well, Rachel prefers the side-by coach gun we looked at.  Good, it's cheaper.

Lastly, our "date" finished up with a stop at Wildside bike, ski and climbing store in Baraboo.  The gentleman you see in the picture is Jeff Vogtschaller from UW Madison.  He works at the store one day a week.

What a great conversation we all had about Glass and I was thrilled to see the gears turning and the ideas he came up with for himself and students.  Specifically, instruction about climbing (4H) to share with students.  Rachel and I agreed that it's exciting and exhilarating to speak on an intellectual level about it.  Lots of ideas and connections with Jeff.

Pretty much from 4:30 until 9:30 PM I've been asleep.  Somewhere along the way in the past week I've picked up a bug and it's put me down for the count.  I'm resurfacing just long enough to catch the second half of the Wisconsin game.  41-41 right now. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Through the Looking Glass

OK, so I swore I wouldn't use the obvious title Through the Looking Glass because it's SO obvious and cliche'.  Obviously, tonight, I'm Mr. Cliche'.

Lewis Carroll wrote of glorious and unusual adventures through the eyes of Alice, the girl who chased the rabbit.

I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then .

I wonder if this quote will be true when I hand off Glass in just over a week?  I also wonder if this is true of the technology we have and how we should view this.  Imagine life without a cell phone . . . or your smartphone.  Have these tools begun to define a generation or the society in which we live?  How would Alice have have reacted if the world she was transported into involved mad people talking into thin air having a conversation with someone miles away?  Lewis Carroll loved his camera, how would he react to a person walking around with one on his head?  

In our world, the one in which we walk around in every day, there are spectacular wonders popping up all over the place.  On more than one occasion at the WISN conference I heard whisperings as I walked by about " . . . that guy with Google Glass."  It's hard to imagine after the countless number of conversations I had with students and adults over the past two days that a year from now this device could become as common as . . . the iPhone.  Amazing when it first came out but now another bleep and bloop in an increasingly competitive world.  

Some highlights from my trip through the Glass.

Sitting in a session.

Presenting a session.

Jimmy John's is fast making subs but not as fast as the employee that asked about Glass and then tried them on.  Wonder what he's talking about tonight.

Waiting for my ride in a parking lot off Hwy. 51.  No snow!  It's exciting to me; there's 4 feet at home on the ground.

By far and large my favorite part.  I believe a standing ovation is reserved for only the most special and spectacular performances.  I don't cave into peer pressure and stand for everything.  I gladly stood and smiled as this outstanding group of children wowed the entire room.

So, onto my deep thoughts for the conference.  To start, what a wonderful group of dedicated people. 

 I thought about things I'd never thought before
Things I'd thought before I thought again
The thoughts I thought were good thoughts needed rethinking
I think some thoughts more thoughtfully
I thought with thinkers

Recharge, refresh, relax, retain.  Good conference.

Back to Glass.

I've taken to the habit of removing Glass and hooking it into my shirt collar when I enter the restroom.  Even then I opt for the confinement of the stall so I don't make people nervous.  Something to think about if these become part of education.  How much do we trust students?  We don't make them leave cell phones outside the facilities.  (BTW I always choose the private staff bathrooms at school)

Kids are ready for this.  They were excited, polite, interested and fascinated when I talked to them.  Adults were also excited, but not in the same way.  Adults seemed like it was neat and cool and were curious about it; kids were all about "This will be mine some day." and were comfortable in their amazement.

I guess I expected to see another pair of Glass at the conference.  I don't know why, but I was surprised that there wasn't more exposure to it from the crowd.  I may have to expand my test group to others in other districts.  It's begging to have a presentation at TIES regarding its use.  Time to hit up the other educators using it this spring to present with me.  Maybe it's going to be commercially available.  I predict that if 2014 is the year, Christmas is going to get slammed with it.

Be prepared for the onslaught of broken Glass posts as I enter spring break and relax with Glass.  

Well, as much as I ever relax.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Innovative Glass

Great day spent in conferences at the Wisconsin Innovative Schools Network conference!  Lots of opportunities to spend talking with other educators about their schools and show off Glass in the meantime.  Some of the best part of the conversations was with students working at the conference as they tried Glass on and had the same "wow" factor adults have when they see the screen light up before their eyes.

Most of my pictures today were taken of me when others were wearing Glass.  The kids working were very professional, attentive and polite.  I love to see this kind of authentic learning situation.  Nice Job!

Some great questions asked and discussions had about the usefulness of Glass with the lower grades.  In the end, I've come to the conclusion that, in a learning situation, Glass very much can be used like crowd-sourcing.  We crowd-source for information and funding, why not do the same thing for education?  Imagine this:  You ask students to investigate something (let's say a field trip situation).  Instead of small groups or presentations, you have 20-30 students all collecting and funneling the data into a central location (maybe a Google+ page) or sharing with one another.  Suddenly, you've enabled the entire class to share the experiences with one another.

Plus, you can communicate with the students, they can access the internet for information, communicate with one another . . . the list can go on.  What an exciting time in education!

Anyway, I haven't decided if I'm going to brave the Gala event tonight.  It would be a great way to communicate and connect with others in education and then process that information.  Plus they have prizes.  I have 5 minutes to decide so if I post again later I probably went.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Glass Removed

Another short post.  Unreliable internet so I'm typing with sausage fingers on a smart phone.  I was lucky enough to spend another say at SOAR Charter school today.  I love working in that environment.  I have great pics that I will share later from tearing apart a chromebook with several highly engaged kids.  Glass was a great way to capture the moment as it was happening in a candid way.  

On the way for the WISN conference we stopped at a Culvers and by the time we left the staff worked up the courage to ask about Glass.  I patiently and proudly showed them and let them try it on.  I wonder how they're sharing that experience tonight with their friends.

I'm excited for the conference tomorrow and hope to have some great experiences to share tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Glassy Eyes

Fatigue has finally set in.  I've been running in overload for far too many days, so this is going to be a short post.

I feel, at the end of the day, like there was a lot that Glass had to do with today, but very little that I have recorded on video.  Maybe it's becoming so integrated into my life that the novelty of it is finally wearing off.  Who knows?

I had a few great conversations with teachers outside the high school.  These conversations included information about Glass and the possibility for others to see and use it in classrooms.  As I prepare for the end of the week and conference I'm curious to see how I'm going to use it in the professional development realm at the conference.

Anyway, I've solidified two teachers that will for sure use it during the next month and a half.  One for sure will take over posing on this blog and the other will run a separate blog that I will link to.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Passing More Glass

It's March, right?

By the time I got to Land O Lakes it was -18.  This type of photo is called a Viginette.  It does not stand for "driving while playing with Glass."  The upper right is what I see in the display of Glass.  It doesn't exactly look like this, but it's pretty close.  I'm going to figure out how to do a Viginette video sometime soon.

Yesterday I went to the coffee house behind my house.  It's a screen house I built several years ago.  My wife and I go out there to hide from the kids . . . I mean, to relax and have morning coffee.  Two years ago I'd already been fishing in the boat on local lakes for 3 days.  Sitting out there reminds me of this.

It's 41" and I caught it nearly 20 years ago.  It's out here because I lost.  There are quilts on the walls in the house and the fish is out here.

Educationally, I hung out with some 4K kiddos this morning and they lined up and were excited to try on Glass.  I love to make the connection between them, high schoolers and adults.  The look of wonderment and surprise is the same.  We need more wonderment in our lives.

I talked to the second candidate for passing on Glass today as well.  I appreciate the excitement and passion he showed towards trying it out.  I'm glad I can accommodate; even though I'm the one that gets the great data and can further understand the usefulness of Glass in the classroom.  By my calculations, I'll get it back just after the opening fishing weekend and I'm hoping to be out in the boat.  With three feet of ice on the lakes I think I'm wishing a little too much.

I've heard from several people now that have attended conferences and met people that are also Google Glass explorers.  Educators none-the-less.  I hope I meet some fellow explorers at the WISN conference at the end of the week and we can talk about their experiences with Glass in the classroom.

I have an idea.  Based on the above Viginette, I'm not sure it's a good idea, but it's an idea.  The more I think about the usefulness of Glass the more I want to sit down with local law enforcement and show them.  I want them to recognize it and be aware of it and let me know what they think about it.  I could see this being extremely useful in their line of work.  As long as they don't enforce a "no driving with Glass" law because of it.  I may have to come back and edit this if they do.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

STEAMed Glass

Sorry if this ends up being a long post, but I have things to say.

First, some background.  There are a few things I always am no matter where I am or what I'm doing.  I'm a father, a husband and a teacher.  I cannot turn any of these things off, nor do I want to.  I have two daughters equally brilliant in their own way and a wife who shares the same passionate approach to life that I do.

So, today I spent time with my youngest daughter while the other two human occupants of the house were doing other things.  Our interaction started off with a casual question about "playing" with the Lego robot.  I have one of the SOAR EV3 robotics kits at the house so I can use it and understand it and then when it comes time to work with the SOAR kids, I know what I'm talking about.  For the past week or so I've been fishing with comments to try and hook one of my kids into sitting down and building and programming it with me.  Selfishly, I get to spend time with them; unselfishly, I get to incorporate schoolwork at home with family time.

Today I got a bite and Evelyn joined me.  She's 8.  There are a lot of things Evelyn is: beautiful, energetic, intelligent, deceitful, imaginative, musical . . . the list can go on and on.  There's one thing she's not: a motivated student.  Countless numbers of nights have gone by with arguments, tears, threats and pleading about homework and the value of education.  I have to give credit to her teacher this year, she's done something with my child to make her excel.  All the worries about her reading level and aversion to education have been lessened because of the wonderful things her teacher does.  Not that any of her other teachers have done anything wrong, but something's clicking in school now.  She's still reluctant, but I can see that she's learning.

So when we sat down today to play with the robot, I didn't have high expectations that she would stick around for very long.  She loves Legos, but the EV3 doesn't really look a lot like your typical robot.  I had built a tank version myself last weekend and didn't have time to program it.  Evelyn sat down with me and we made a plan for what she wanted it to do.  She drew a map, we numbered the different events we'd need to input and got started.

My jaw dropped as this attention deficit, squirming little girl performed trial after trial with the robot.  At one point she was even inputting the new data into the computer.  I was amazed at the combination of math (decimals and fractions), engineering (tracks didn't cut it, we switched to rubber wheels), science (she kept talking about friction) and art  (music - you can select specific notes to play on the robot) she was using together.  She collected data, changed it sometimes by tenth, to get the robot to do what she wanted.  And then she shared it with everyone in the house.

It took us over an hour to get the programming done right.  I interjected lessons where I could and explained to her what we were doing.  She was coding at 8 years old.  She was following the scientific method and focusing on what she was doing for longer than 10 seconds.

And then we spent another hour tearing it apart and started building a robotic arm.

Here's the point.  Engagement.  I took an unmotivated student and presented her with a way to learn and experiment.  The technology we have available can be the bridge we sometimes need to engage students in their education.  Google Glass may be one of those bridges.  It still takes highly qualified people that can recognize and present our children with engaging activities to motivate them to learn.

I cannot thank her teacher enough for her contribution to Evelyn's success and I cannot stress to the rest of the educators in the world that there are engaging activities and lessons that we can use.  It takes lots of work, planning and collaboration but it's well worth it.

STEAM - Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math

Saturday, March 22, 2014


 I've spent time with one question swimming around in the back of my head:  What direction should I move in next week?

I though about this all day and decide it's time for a list post.

1.  Figure out the apps.  There are a few I'll probably never use, but I want to get into the few that are out there and solidify my understanding.

2.  Impact learning with Glass.  This might be a big one but I'd like to find at least one way that students can learn with the assistance of Glass.

3.  Networking.  I'll be at the WISN conference at the end of the week (we're presenting) and I'd like to connect with other educators and get their feedback on ways we can use this in school.

I read through the postings on the Explorers site for educators.  Doesn't sound like any are talking too deeply about how it can be used.  Maybe I'm looking to hard for it and it will just come about as I gain more experience.  Right now I'm really looking to project-based and hands-on learning as the environment for this tool since a traditional classroom so far eludes me as it's purpose.  In a 1:1 environment at the HS it's hard to imagine Glass being useful.

Received an email from a technology education teacher about using Glass to make some POV instruction videos.  I'm curious and interested to see how this works out and may be contacting him early in the week to give it a test run.  It's going to be a great test for the screencast as well.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Glass, Uninterrupted

Today was a busy day.  Being home sick on Thursday made much of the daily routine I have pile up for an extra day.  There was time, however, to experience Glass and reflect on it in a whole different way.

First, the normal stuff.  I was in the auditorium for the dress rehearsal for the spring concert.  Being the husband of an elementary music teacher I have the opportunity to fill in when I'm needed.  I got a good lesson and a couple of good pics from up in the booth looking down at the stage.  I found a limit for Glass that is common in most cameras; low light plus bright stage equals poor image.  Overall so far I've been very impressed with the picture quality, I guess I'm getting used to it being a natural reflection of what I'm seeing so I was surprised it didn't turn out.  Kudos to the human eye, its abilities are difficult to replicate.

I also had time to reflect on technology in a different than normal sense.  On occasion I consult in the district for different technological needs.  A situation occurs and I'm asked for my opinion on the best and least intrusive technology to ensure the continuity of education for students that are otherwise unable to keep a consistent schedule.  I had one of these opportunities today and, as I talked with all parties involved in the situation I couldn't help but think about the usefulness of Glass in certain situations.

Right now, the easy go-to thought is for someone who doesn't have use of his or her hands.  Glass isn't ready for that; there's a touch pad on the right side that requires attention.  Many things can be done without it, but not everything.

So I thought about what Glass really is about.  I've compared it to a camera, computer and cell phone.  I've commented that I don't want to replace any of those thing and thought about what it actually does.  So I did a little research and came across a posting on the Explorer Community site that put it into perspective for me.  Glass isn't supposed to be a distraction, it's supposed to free us from distraction.

I know what you're thinking "Yeah, right.  A computer on your head with a display isn't a distraction?" This posting I read really did put it plainly.  I hear complaints all the time that people (it's not just kids you phone addicts!) are spending more and more time on their devices.  I'm a perfect Pavlovian proof.  My phone dings, vibrates or rings and I'm conditioned to pull it out and look at it.  I can't help myself.

Google Glass is supposed to free us from that by connecting us in a more natural way.  Still not convinced?  I spend very little time on my phone any more.  Good example:  I was in the HS office looking to talk with the principal.  My phone rang and I was able, on voice command, to answer, have a phone call (Mom asking about the spring concert) and continue my search without a phone stuck on my ear or with me fumbling with my nearly indestructible case.

How can this affect education?  Seamless integration of the information stream.  Students can remain engaged with the world while accessing information.  There's a worry that the HUD will get in the way, but it doesn't.  It really doesn't.  It's a little weird at first, but once you get used to ignoring that it's there, it allows you so much access to many of the things we already do without reaching for the phone.  Or computer.  Or tablet.

I've definitely changed my focus a little and will now look to examine this little device as a life-enhancer rather than a distraction.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Glass is Half Full

More time to think about Glass.

I've spent time today on the Explorer's community looking at the posts from other explorers and thinking about the Glass hardware.  When I first got it I handled it with kid gloves.  Looking at this thin, fragile device in my monstrous hands I wondered how long my investment would last.  I've worn glasses off and on for nearly 30 years and I've broken my fair share.

I'm happy to say it's been very durable.  I'm a sharing kind of person, so there have been countless children (down to Kindergarten) who have experienced my Glass.  Sometimes they walk around with it and other times they just take a quick picture, return it and then they're off again.  My only trouble so far has been that I've lost the earbud and the bone conduction speaker in the headset gets distorted.

I have a few suggestions I'll share with Google as I continue with this trial.  First, Sport Glass.  Maybe a more flexible frame and waterproof (or at least resistant) computer.  I look at my phone and I'm using an OtterBox Armor case.  Shock proof, water proof and, unfortunately, mostly soundproof.  I bought it because I'm that guy that drops his phone, uses it in the boat and gets it wet (sometimes submerged) and is generally hard on equipment.  It isn't because I don't value it, but I use it.

If Glass is going to have a place in education, an I believe inevitably it will, then the device itself is going to need to be flexible.  Maybe Google plans to let the after-market commercial companies worry about this, but I think about it.

I posted a question on the Explorer forum about contacting Google with a proposal about using this with a class to really collect some data.  I hope I can get a good response since this is the direction I need to go with it.

I also wrote an article yesterday and finished it today that will be published in the community newsletter.  I wonder if I'll need to present my findings to the community formally, maybe at a School Board meeting.  Either way, I've had nothing but positive conversations with people as I'm out and about regarding the device.

Had a nice email and compliment from one of my former students regarding the blog.  It reminds him of Creative Writing class.  How nice!  I've always had a passion for writing and now I get to be the person featured in a lot of the Science Fiction I've read; the one with the computer on his head.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking Glass

Long ago, well before my time, people referred to a mirror as a looking glass.  At least that's my impression of it largely based on literature and contemporary media.  Being the reflective, introspective person that I am, I apply this to Google Glass in the form of an 11 year old daughter stealing it from me and filming me while I present a lesson on using Garageband to the SOAR Charter School students.

This is a great way to see things through the eyes of your students.  I've only included a short clip; I felt as though the full 9 minutes was a great way for me to reflect, but you'd get the gist of it in a fraction of the time.  At one point in the full video I go sideways.  I'm told it was so my head would no longer get cut off in the video, but I think she got bored and started to fall asleep.

There was an article I read online about Google Glass in schools.  I thought about this when I watched my video.  The article addressed the concerns and potential issues of Glass in the classroom because it suddenly made education transparent.  I agree with the author that education is becoming more transparent.  After all, what are all the standardized tests for if not to determine effectiveness, progress and productivity in public education?  I discussed this with another educator and we agreed that there's a good chance some of the things said or done could be taken out of context and viewed as negative when, in reality, the statements or actions were innocent or innocuous.

Interesting line of thought.  We also agreed that the transparency shouldn't be something to be feared but rather accepted.  After all, if an administrator or community member walked into your room you wouldn't (or shouldn't) want to change what you're doing.  This may very well be a window into the future of what education is going to become.  Unfortunately, this puts a lot of stress on a teacher.  Good or bad?  Too early to decide, but definitely worth discussing and thinking about.

On the other side, it's also a potential window into the structure and dynamics of the classroom.  How do the students interact?  At what point are they engaged in the lesson?  Are there behavior issues?  Once again, more discussion.  Maybe even some trial runs to reflect on.

This 9 minute look into my own teaching style, the way I interact and how the students literally view me leads me to reflection and maybe even alteration.

When I finally got my Glass back (wasn't easy) I took a break, visited the other classroom and got to meet my first fat-tailed leopard gecko.  It didn't try to sell me insurance.

Stay tuned for more information and discussion about my grand idea to work with SOAR staff members to hit Google up for an entire class set (45) of Glass to really try it out with the charter school.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Secret Agent Glass

Today I spent a considerable time in the morning talking with another school district who was visiting.  Much of this conversation involved explanation about our program, the path we chose to follow in getting where we are and advice about collaboration with other districts.  This is great advice and boils down to "don't reinvent the wheel, see what others are doing and model yourself after their success."

With Glass I don't really have this luxury.  There are others using Glass in education but I haven't come across too many that are looking at it specifically as a teaching tool.  Maybe I'm not searching enough and that can be the focus and direction I take when I'm without Glass and my colleagues are experiencing it for themselves.

For now, though, I'd like to reflect on the science fiction side of Glass.  I've been compared to everything from a Cyborg to the Terminator (maybe one and the same) and heard reference to science fiction as well as action adventure/spy novels.  I guess this really speaks to the connection between the two.  Someone dreams up a world where people are using this type of technology for a variety of different things and then someone else creates the technology from that dream.  It makes me think about the importance of visionaries and out-of-the box thinkers.  Without them we'd struggle to innovate.

We need this innovation in schools and I see sparks of it every day.  Children hold in their hands, hearts and minds endless possibilities; ones I haven't and probably never will think of myself.  Items, tools, like Glass are there for us to use and share and dream about.  When I introduce students to this phenomenal tool I see many of them start that dreaming and thinking process.  I love that look!  It inspires me to continue to nurture curiosity and support radical thinking.  I'm not going to get on a soap box about testing and argue one side or the other, all I'm saying is we need to continue to foster it and support it.

I'm going to SOAR charter school again tomorrow.  One of the things I like best about it is seeing students that are immersed in and supported for their unique ideas.  I'm not saying other classes don't offer these opportunities, but it's awesome to see how rampant it runs up there.

I'm not a super spy and to those who are concerned that Google Glass will be inconspicuous and invade all sorts of privacy, open your eyes.  I can't walk into a room without half of the room looking at me and questioning what's on my head.  Maybe if Google made contacts . . .

If you're an interested and avid reader, take the time to read Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's The Light of Other Days.  In short it looks at the loss of privacy in society and society's reaction to that loss.  Much of it goes much further than what Glass could ever hope to achieve, but Glass opens the door and the discussion about what we should expect as technologies outrun our laws.

I didn't post any pictures specifically because I don't want Glass to become a one trick pony.  It has so many other wonderful possibilities that I don't want to limit my postings to the visual realm.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Passing Glass

This morning started out with weekly roundtable meeting in the staff development room.  No one showed for help so I spent time getting myself ready for the WISN conference and working on the presentation.  I had Glass sitting on the table next to my computer while I worked and started to think about the next step.

Shortly after returning to my office I contacted one of our science teachers about being my lab rat for an initial hand-off and trial in her classroom.  We met and discussed the proposal and she happily agreed.  Two weeks from now I'll reset Glass to factory default and let her use it for two weeks.  We figured that this will give her enough time to plan some lessons, we'll meet again so I can get an idea of how she's going to use it and then I'll direct you to her blog as well as keep posting (maybe not daily) on my blog.  I'd like, during that time, to also interview some of her students and see how they're reacting to it.

I finally captured a 10 second video of typical student reaction to my explanation of Glass.

As you can see in the video there's a mixture of excitement and stunned looks as they try to wrap their heads around the concept.  Anyone at the table who wanted to was welcome to try it on.  For some it worked right away and for others Glass didn't cooperate.  Maybe Google has used a little AI and given it a personality and preference.  Doubtful, but people already have a hard time believing I didn't take it straight from Star Trek.

My day was cut short as I took my youngest to the doctor for her cast.  Had a brief but informative discussion with the doctor and medical assistant about Glass.  His biggest concern was privacy and what Glass would mean in school and, I'm guessing, in his profession as well.  I asked for permission and took some pictures of him at work.

It was snowing.  I didn't take a picture because I'm tired of winter and have 3 feet of snow still in my yard I can look at if I miss it.  I did take the time to stop for a little long-awaited maintenance.

It brings me back to one of my original thoughts about Glass in education.  There are a lot of demonstrations teachers can record first-person point of view and share with students.  Once again, though, it's using the camera and microphone.

In the doctor's office (2.5 hours waiting for a 15 min appointment) I figured out using the screencast feature on Glass.  I guess I was expecting it to show what I see and was surprised that it only showed what was visible on my viewfinder.  It figures when I think about it, but to utilize it in the classroom it's going to have to be done while video recording.  Interesting to see how this works out since it's battery will only last 45 min or so recording video.  Time will tell.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rest and Reflection

I woke up this morning thinking that there would be nothing I was doing today that was worth writing about.

Not true as it turns out.  I did put in a day of rest, spending most of the time camped out on the floor in the living room watching Netflix.  I guess maybe it's that time of year or maybe my mind and body was just begging for a reset.

I don't sit still very well, so I still built a robot. (@NPSDtech on twitter for a pic)  I must have eaten at some point since there were crumbs on my shirt.  The rest of my family was away so I could watch whatever I wanted without interruption (we only have one TV, no cable or satellite and 3 channels).  Winding down for me generally plays out this way.

I still had plenty of time to reflect and that reflection turned in the direction of Glass.  I started this journey as an Explorer looking to evaluate Glass for education and I've done that just about every day since it arrived.  Today was no different.  I'm looking to the next phase and trying to decide where that should go.  First, I needed to evaluate where I'm at and what I've done.

Introduce Glass - Done. I've been in every school in the district with it and presented it to anyone who asks.  I've been very specific about letting them come to me rather than have teachers and students think I'm forcing it on them or bragging about it.  Seems good so far.

Play with Glass - In progress.  I've figured out much of what I want to use it for, some is working well, others need some more time.  I've mastered the camera, video, music, games and internet searches.  I still have other components I need to work on (see below).

Incorporate Glass - I don't even notice it's there any more.

Now my list of upcoming agenda items:

Instruction - I want teachers to try it and provide feedback.  There's a bit of a learning curve and to accurately do this I need to let them have it for several days.  This is where coaching's going to come into play.  I need to create some kind of application (maybe there's a better word, but I'm going with this).  Teachers who would like to try it out for instruction need to show me there's more to it than the "neat" factor.  I'm thinking a conference where we can talk about it, Q&A and brainstorming.

Professional Development - We've kicked it around in our discussions about using Glass for PD.  As a reflection tool, being able to go back and look at it is enlightening (sometimes nauseating) and beneficial.  If this would be an acceptable way to submit video for National Board or similar it would be valuable.

I'm sure there's more and I'll continue to seek them out.

On a side note, I had a very nice conversation with three community members at the grocery store earlier this evening about Glass.  They were interested, excited and responsive to my explanation.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Waking from a Winter Wonderland

This is the second weekend I have to spend using Glass.  I'm still not convinced I'm a personal-life kind of Glass person, but I'm giving it a shot.

Today was the finals for boy's basketball tournaments and I spent a good deal of time watching the games on TV.  I'm not a huge basketball fan, but watching the kids play in Madison draws me in every year.  I found myself on the lookout for anyone in the audience capturing the experience with Glass, but found no one.  I did reflect for a while about using Glass for coaching.  It would be a convenient way to capture images and video while instructing.

I did get out a couple of times.  First was to the vet for the cat and dog.

What a great opportunity to talk with them about Glass.  They were enthusiastic and, since they are parents of one of the third graders I worked with last week, finally understood why their child was asking to get a pair of Google Glass for Christmas next year.  I let them try it out and they were very impressed.

I couldn't help myself (or maybe it was guilt looking at the dog) so I went snowshoeing at Shannon Lake outside of town.  Even in the barren landscape of winter, there's still a lot of beauty.

Plus, Bailey the Springer Spaniel was excited to stretch her legs without sinking above her head into the snow.

I'm impressed at the quality of the video and pictures from a tiny camera hovering just outside my right temple.

One thought about it: if people are going to use this on a daily basis, cell phone companies are going to need to bring back unlimited data on a larger scale.  I'm paranoid that I'm going to go over my data limit if I truly use this for what it's intended; sending pics and video chatting on the go.  I watch it like a hawk and don't think there's a chance I'll go over, but still . . . most of my connection and sending is on wi-fi.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Glass has Class

Finally it's Friday!

This is the end to my first full week with Glass.  It's becoming a part of my routine now.  Interest is starting to grow at the high school with students giving up a passing glance, moving beyond a longer stare and becoming bold enough to ask about it.  I'm enjoying every opportunity to stop, share and explain what it does and how it works.  Many are very excited to put it on and see the HUD for the first time.

I talked with an English teacher this morning at my roundtable tech talk.  Some of the conversation was about Glass, but mostly it was about integrating technology to best service his students.  One student in particular was unable to be in class so the teacher wanted to do a Google Hangout and allow the student to be a part of the class from a remote location.  The future of education is here!

I smiled as I watched how easily the student became part of the class through his computer.

The picture shows a computer on the teacher desk with a direct feed to the student.  The teacher did a great job including him in the discussion and the students were involved as well.  What the picture doesn't show is all the ways technology played a role in making this discussion possible.  Without hesitation, students in the class used cell phones, Chromebooks and a laptop to connect and organize a connection with the student.  Using Google Hangouts for video and text they established the connection and arranged the meeting.  This is what technology can enable.

I used Glass to record what was happening for a couple of reasons.  First, I was asked by the teacher to help him record the class so he could use it to reflect on his own teaching practice.  I also recorded the entire class on a Sony Handycam on a tripod and delivered the video immediately after the class was over.  Second, I used it to emphasize that a highly qualified teacher was able to provide continuity in every child's education through the use of technology.  I don't want to take anything away from the inclusion of online learning, but the ability to participate in an authentic discussion is extremely valuable.

This lesson was reinforced with discussion elements and assignments provided in Haiku, our Learning Management System we use.

I learned from my first recording of a class and I was careful to move slowly and steadily to provide a better quality recording from glass.

Kudos to the teacher for excellent use of technology and to the class for including everyone in the discussion.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lego my Glass

I'm on the iPad again, so pardon the typos in advance.  (edits have been done since this posting)

Today Glass went to LOL again and spent a day with me in a meeting.  I took part on one of the coolest trainings I've been to in a while: Lego training.  Lego robotics to be exact.  Very cool.

So, before training started, one of the SOAR students from yesterday got excited and asked if they were going to get to use Glass again.

Throughout the day I had a good conversation about it with parent/charter board member, was able to think out loud about how I used it and then it disappeared for a while as SOAR student took it to linch. When he returned I was able to talk to him and show him some of the features beyond video.

I also took a couple of extra minutes to show Glass to a parent at dance class.

If you're reading it tonight, I'll post pics and vids from training tomorrow.

Lego Robot going through the course

I'd like to take a moment to reflect on a comment I hear from adults:  What a neat toy!

Spending the day going through training with what many would consider toys, I have to challenge the idea that Glass is another toy.  I love toys.  I love the memories I have of them when I was a child, love playing with toys with my children even today and I understand that they're sometimes a distraction.  As I learned in Lego training, there's much more to "toys" than just a frivolous waste of time.  They're are genuine learning activities; goals and objectives.

Not always, sometimes they can be a distraction.  As far as Glass goes, it's cool and neat and interesting, but if anything, it's work.  The kind of connectivity Glass provides keeps me working.  Unless I take it off and walk away from it, that constant connection to my job never turns off.  Pavlov would have loved to observe me, when it dings, I check a message or email.  When I see something I want to share for work I take a picture or a video.  When I have a question I IM or hangout with someone.

There are things I use if for recreationally, like the weekend pics from biking and skiing, but these aren't things I would normally record.

I can say one thing for sure, each day that goes by with Glass, I'm finding more and more ways that it integrates several forms of computing into my life.  As far as education, the possibilities outweigh the reality right now and I'm excited to continue to experiment and explore and see what others can teach me about it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Google Glass Gets to SOAR

Today was the first planned all-day appearance at the School of Options and Applied Research (SOAR) in Land O Lakes.  I've been planning and waiting for the opportunity to work more closely with the students up there for quite a while.

The day I received Glass I was doing some tech work at SOAR so the students were aware it was coming, but only a few (my daughter included) had actually seen it before.  After all, I think I'm the only one around who has it.

My day started off with a pack of very excited 5th graders (non-SOAR) crowding around to get a look.  On the Explorers community page I answered the question "What is the first thing people say when they try it on?" with "OK Glass, take a picture."

Here's Proof

I guess this must be how I look to them.  I thought I had more hair.
When I got into the SOAR room I was flooded with questions and curiosity.  

What a wonderful day to spend with a group that is so excited and engaged in their learning.  I was able to allow them to try it on and then Glass disappeared.  My oldest was busy making sure it would work for learning at their school and proudly wore it, showed it off and let others experience what Glass was really like.

It's awesome to see how fearless they are with it and how willing they are to put it to use.  I don't know what the future of wearable technology will be in education, but this group certainly shows how willing they are to adapt to it.  As long as my approach was cool and collected ( I explained it was expensive, so just be careful) they quickly put it on and tried it out.

Without a doubt, if you want to see what possibilities a device has, give it to a bunch of kids.  They will come up with things you never imagined.  At one point, my daughter was filming her classmates working on a dance routine.  Makes me think about uses for coaches.

I've done tons with video and with cameras.  I've taped kids, adults, professional development and myself.  Google Glass is extremely unobtrusive; there wasn't the normal "I'm being filmed?!" hesitation (one student was a little embarrassed) that I usually get.  Sure, I look like a cyborg, but once they forget it's "game on."

These kids are growing up in a world filled with smart things.  SMART Boards, smart phones, smart TVs.  They adapt quickly, embrace new things and accept them as a part of their world.  We have no idea what they'll see in their lifetime and wearable technology like this may be as common as . . . the iPad.

Thanks again, SOAR, you made me smile, reflect and remember why I love education!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesdays with More - eh?

Today I looked at my habits with Glass.  I know it's only been a week, but I find myself in a pattern of use.  When I walk around, I put Glass on and take it with me.  It's more of the possibility of what I can do with it and less of the paranoia of leaving it lying on my desk in a relatively un-secure office.

I used the camera to document a damaged Chromebook I was fixing.

Somehow the hinge completely pulled out of the plastic while a student was opening it.  Adult witnesses confirm there was nothing malicious or improper about how it was opened; the thing just fell apart.  I created a Franken-book out of pieces of other broken devices and it's in good working condition.

As I wandered about during my morning I also had a chance to stop by a couple of classrooms and show the students how Glass worked.  They're definitely interested and enthused.  In the middle school students are wowed at the cool factor.  The kindergarten class I met in the hall were mostly dumbfounded and speechless; trying to wrap their heads around what exactly it was.  The enthusiasm of their teacher was rewarding and I treated them to a class picture sent from Glass to Hangouts.

Back to habits.  I don't wear Glass when I'm at my desk (the Chromebook pic was a special occasion).  I don't think the battery has enough juice to make it through a day (maybe not even half a day) listening to music in the background, accessing information and taking pictures.  When I sit to work at the computer I set it on the desk and plug it in USB to the Mac.  

I also had a couple of good discussions with teachers interested in what it is and how it works, including a group at a meeting that were eager to try it on.  The $1500 price tag shocks most adult, kids either don't comprehend how much or are disinterested in the value.

I figured out Twitter on it although I have yet to send a tweet from it.  I did respond to a couple of email from Glass and found it convenient and mostly accurate with voice recognition.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sunny Days

In many ways I've become somewhat of a circus attraction at school.  I can now lump the students into a couple of different categories:

  • Tech Groupies - They definitely are infatuated with the idea of what Google Glass will bring them and I'm sure often imagine having it and using it for all of the wonderful things it will bring.
  • Admirers - They think it's neat, mostly for me.  They ask about the great things I'm doing and are genuinely interested in how I use it and sometimes amazed at what it can do.  Many "cool" responses when I tell them or let them try it on.
  • Questioners - they want to know what it costs and can't get over the price.  Even as an "evaluation tool" I sometimes feel like they're tallying up the cost as compared to what else that money could be used for.  I sometimes fall into this role myself.
Today I figured out a couple of different apps.  Well, I think I figured out one of them, the other I have some thoughts about.
  • Google Play - I've wanted to play music with Glass, but I'm an Apple fanboy and have everything wrapped up in an i - something (iPod, iPhone, iMac, iPad), so understandably I'm hesitant to shift to the "other guy" for my music needs.  It works well and accommodatingly transferred the music in iTunes on my Mac to Google Play.  I signed up without any problem and don't think I'm paying for a service.  For the second half of today I enjoyed music played softly through glass as I walked around.  When removed and turned upside down, glass automatically pauses.
  • Strava Cycling - Tracks biking.  I used it for a 6 mile bike ride after school and it timed me but didn't calculate the distance.
Thoughts on education:  Teachers using Glass to prepare lessons and work on flipping their classes may genuinely benefit from using Glass to video tape.  As new apps come out there may be more appropriate and useful reasons to have it.  Communication-wise, Glass is phenomenal.  Practicality-wise I'm not so sure yet.

After school I enjoyed a couple of spring activities:

  Biking on my mountain bike along the side of sloppy, icy roads.  Thankfully I installed fenders (cool, tough mountain bike ones, not Pewee Herman ones) so I was minimally wet.

Biking made me feel like I was a kid again back in the 80's . . .

So did pinch rolling my pants.

Since I couldn't tell how far I went, I took a ride in Kermit with half the top off.  I love a convertible!  Unfortunately, I hit a puddle that sent water up over the top of the windshield.

Oh, an I figure out how to do a cool viginette with Glass.  What a great warm day!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bring Spring!

Today was a transition day for me.  I fully intended on getting the snowshoes out and trekking out into the middle of the lake to try some fishing.  I thought this would be a great use for Glass.

The minnows I bought yesterday and left in the truck in an insulated bucket had an impenetrable layer of ice over them.  They're sitting in my driveway awaiting a slow cold death.  So, I went to the carwash and washed the truck instead.

I also went to Shopko.  I still don't notice if anyone notices me.  Then again, I pretty much tower over most people and wonder sometimes if they don't know me if they're afraid to approach me.  Maybe if I smile more.

Onto Glasstastic experiences (I think I should coin this term).  After spending entirely too much time sitting around waiting to do something, my youngest decided she wanted to ski.  Keep in mind that on Friday she fell and broke her arm and is wearing a temporary splint.  I loaded the skis in my now clean truck and we headed to the Three Eagle Trail.  What a beautiful day!

It's hard to be inconspicuous when you say "OK Glass" around an 8 year old who is fascinated with Glass and convinced she will have and use them some day soon.  Any "candid" shot I have of her so far is staged.  I turned on the winking feature for taking a picture and got one every time I blinked.  I also tried to capture video of two eagles being dive-bombed by a crow, but I said "take" instead of "record" and ended up racing through everyone in my Google+ account for a video message.  Note to self, be clear when I speak.

In the truest sense of an explorer, I set out to try something new in the afternoon.

I only fell once.  As I understand and will find out soon, there's an app for Glass that will track my biking.  I will certainly install this and try it out.

I like the 10 second video feature.  Allows hand-free video capability at a moments notice.

Which brings me to today's analysis.  I've been looking at this critically since I first put Glass on.  I question if there's other technology, cheaper that can do the same thing; sometimes better.  After spending a weekend with Glass I can see the appeal.  Everything I want it to do it will do conveniently.  I didn't have to pack a phone and camera and video camera with me.  I didn't need to dig through five layers and pull out a phone that's in a bullet-proof case (Otterbox Armor) and smash it against my head so I could hear the other person.  I didn't have to stop what I was doing, prepare a device, hope it was charged . . . 

It was seamless.  I guess maybe that's the point.  Seamless integration of technology into human society to assist without restricting.  Sounds like the title to a paper in Science magazine.

Oh, and my 8 year old has now taken to "Glass Bombing" me when she sees the prism light up.  I have many pictures of her posing after shouting "OK Glass, take a picture."  I'd be angry if it wasn't so clever.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Winter Weekend Day 1

Let me preface this by saying I'm not really the share everything kind of guy.  So, as I wore Glass today I found myself looking for ways to use it to show that I was an explorer.  This leads me to ask the question Is there anything I do in a typical day that anyone would find particularly interesting? I don't think so, but here's a posting about it.

Around the house, nothing I found it useful for.  I made muffins for the kids, not worth sharing (the post, muffins were great).  One of the reasons I included when I signed up was to evaluate Glass was for outdoors activities.  So, I decided to head to the lake.

As you can see from the video, I didn't get far.  Actually, I put the four wheeler back in the truck and went home.  Home, of course, is beautiful Eagle River.  I took a drive into town and snapped a picture of the ice castle.  Very cool and interesting.

I also went grocery shopping.  No one seemed to notice or at least no one asked about glass.  I'm starting to thing that the people who are posting constantly about how people look at them differently or treat them differently are hyper-sensitive or want to be noticed.

Tomorrow is another day.  I think I'm going to snowshoe out onto the lake for fishing.  I bought the minnows after all.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bold Bystanders

Day 2 for a full day.  Still trying to figure out how I'm going to use this for activities outside school.  I looked at the video I shot yesterday working on a lesson with third grade and was able to reflect on my own teaching style and methods . . . In between nausea and vertigo.  I'm a big man.  Tall (and wider than I should be) with apretty significant case of HD (I can focus just fine, so the AD gets left behind).  With Glass on my head the room was pretty much spinning unless I was sitting still.  Point of reference: be aware it's recording when wearing glass, especially if you plan to share the video.  Still, great reference video.  My wife told me I was engaging and moving around amd attentive to the kids.  Good for teaching, not so much for watching.  I understand what my prof. meant thirteen years ago when she observed me: "I think your movement in class is good, but you make me dizzy."  I shared it with three others.  Sorry.  You can buy motion sickness pills at the drug store.

So, i do a lot of work with video and was pleasantly surprised that i could import directly into Final Cut on my Mac.  Good to know when creating videos; especially for kids that will use it for projects.

Great dicussion today att he HS with principal and Dean about students using it.  I know you have to be 18 to get one as an explorer, but what plan is there for when it goes public?  Kids are all over this thing and love to try it on.  This could be the end of the "selfie" and the beginning of the "friendie."  Even if it stays as a 18 and over requirement, who's to say parents won't buy it for kids?  My own two already have plans for it.

This weekend marks the first time i will have it and use it recreationally.  I'm curious to see how I like it since I take maybe 10 pics a year as it us.  For vacations amd outdoor activities it's going to be great.  With 4 feet of snow on the ground and walleye and northern fishing closed i'm a little limited.  Maybe snowshoeing and cross country skiing is in order.  I may even venture out on the four wheeler and see what happens.

To the point of the title:  Kids (and adults) are now at the point where they're ready to come up and ask me about it.  My standard response is "it's too early to tell" whether I like it.  I'm taking a scientific approach to the device.  The best thing right now, as an Explorer, is the possibilities it holds.  I will continue to question all of it, especially price comparisons to things that do the same function in a different way.  Although, I discovered the games app and look ridiculous trying to hit a tennis ball or clay pigeon with my head.

Sorry it's out of order, I went back and edited and re-publishes sans typos.  No more.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Glass All Day

For the first time, I started my day with Glass.  Many reviews I've read comment on a self-conscious feeling when walking out into the world with Glass for the first time.  Didn't have it.  Maybe it's just me.

So, here's my thoughts:

Still a very high cool factor.  I don't know if or when that will wear off.

Extremely easy to get used to.  I don't feel as though the eyepiece is in the way and the screen is easy to use and see.

I don't wear it at my desk.  I have a laptop and desktop available and they work much better for all I do than Glass.

Out and about it's safer walking and using than my iPhone.

Kids and staff are fine with pics and video.  I think it's such a part of their culture it doesn't phase them.

Overall, I'm conflicted in my opinion.  I don't use Facebook much and I'm not the type of person to share everything going on all the time.  So, in my person life, Glass would not be used like it can or should.  Maybe if it truly was integrated into my glasses (went back to contacts for this experiment) i would use it more.  Right now it's an additional device.

I talked to a Google glass rep on the phone and asked some questions about it.  From what he said there's no problem resetting to factory and letting people borrow it for a test.  Actually it sounded like Google encourages it.  This is great news for my research in education.  I keep reading that there's an 18+ rule for being an explorer.  This kind of puts a damper on students trying it out unless maybe it's my own kids.  We'll have to see.

Lastly, I used video for the first time with Glass.  Works great and seamlessly.  This is probably my favorite part of the device.  This is a great reflection tool and playback is wonderful.  The pics and video automatically become available on Google +.  I use screenshot on the iPad to capture and send via email.  There's probably a better way, but this works for now.

My wife hates talking to me when I call her from Glass.  People in the grocery store didn't notice or ask until I checked out.  Polite curiosity, good conversation.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hello, Glass!

Started off this morning with an email that Glass shipped.  Set up text messaging alerts to follow it to me.  This was at 5:00am.  The package left Kentucky.  I received it by 11:00.  Kudos for promptness.

I was excited, but nowhere near as excited as the science class I walked into.  My plans for opening it in the seclusion of my office and taping the reveal privately were soon forgotten as the excited, eager and engaged class leaned in, carried by the exuberance of the teacher.   Pics and video to watch tomorrow.  Fifteen minutes later I made it to my office (stopped by another science room to geek out some more) and sat down to figure it out.


I'm not a direction reader.  Ever.  This fits perfect with Glass because there aren't really any instructions.  I couldn't help but feel like the product was from Apple.  White box, simple layout and gobs of personality.  If you're going to take a page out of a book, might as well have style.  Soon after, the frustration set in.  The glasses were dead.

I got my first taste of the experience that was unique to glass, a heads up display showing an empty battery.  No instructions to tell me I should charge it for X number of hours first; I never follow that one with a new toy.  I plugged it in with the included charger and it seemed charge.  At least the battery showed itself filling up repeatedly.  I pushed the power button, nothing but the flashie battery. I went to do other work. An hour later Glass still told me the battery was empty.  Grrrr. I was ready to ship it back.

Anyway, it started working when I plugged the USB into the Mac (always magic there).  I set it up and off I went.

At the end of the day I showed it off, even the Blah people from the day before were curious and learned something.  It's cool. Not fall over cool but interesting cool.  The brain started clicking, I worked at a community iPad training and took Glass off during it.  Too early to be useful there, wrong crowd to show it off to.

I have 30 days ro return glass for a refund.  I was ready to box it up today after using ur for a while. Mostly because it seems to rely heavily on cell data to be useful.  I'll give it two fair weeks and then decide. I found a site with lots of apps for glass that address some of my concerns. Time to explore.

I also got a phone message from Google to chat with a glass guy and do a Hangout.  Good plan for tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Glass is Shipped

Received notice today that glass is on the way.  Since finding out it was coming I've gotten four types of reactions.

  • Cool! I can't wait to see it!
  • Nothing.  Shrug of the shoulders and dismissal.
  • Upset and/or envious.  Envy isn't always negative.
  • Downplay.  "I don't see any use for it."
It's very similar to the launch of the iPad.  Many claimed it was an expensive toy, others thought it was a fad, bunches thought it would never have an impact on education.  I maintain the same opinion I had then: it has the potential to significantly change how we deliver education.  It's a tool, though, and needs to be looked at that way.  I'm curious and excited to see the reactions I get when I'm wearing it.  Almost as excited for those reactions as I am to experience it for myself.

Will I view the world differently?

Will the world view me differently?

I guess all I can say is I'm typing this entry on an iPad.  I've used one almost every single day since I got the first one and my kids barely know a world without it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ordering Glass

I received an invitation to become a Google Glass explorer last week.  I ordered it this morning in Charcoal.  I'm excited to get it and try it out with education at Northland Pines.  We'll see how things go, but my plan is to get it into the hands of both teachers and students during the school day.  Not sure it's a good idea at $1500, but I need to know what impact this is going to have on education up here.   I wonder if it's going to work with more than one Google account?

Keep posted as I receive it, unbox it and get started exploring with it!