Gillispie teacher wins chance for school to explore the future of technology
by Kendra Hartmann
Aug 30, 2013 | 1874 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Technology and media-literacy teacher Laura Jean Moore won a chance to test Google Glass. Courtesy photo
Technology and media-literacy teacher Laura Jean Moore won a chance to test Google Glass. Courtesy photo
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As school started for Gillispie School students and faculty on Aug. 27, everyone was likely looking forward to all the changes a new school year brings: new clothes, new classroom, new teacher, new classmates. Technology and media-literacy teacher Laura Jean Moore, however, has something extra special to look forward to in 2013-14: a new and never-before-seen (by most of the world, at least) gadget.

Moore was chosen to be among the 8,000 people nationwide who will beta test Google’s newest foray into the hyper-technological age, Google Glass.

Moore found out about the Google Glass Explorer Program — which called for contest entries in the form of a 140-character composition through Twitter or Google+ — last year, and along with a few other Gillispie educators and administrators, decided to enter the contest.

“[The Explorer Program] was not specifically for educators,” Moore said. “But we started brainstorming ideas of how it could enhance education, and we all sent in separate applications in the hope of broadening our chances.”

With the idea that, should one of their entries win, the Glass would be shared school-wide, Moore and her colleagues devised their entries. Moore was told her Tweet — “I would dissolve school walls, making the worlds living within us and beyond us a two-way street between students & teachers” — was a winner in March, and that she would soon be eligible to pick up her Glass. She was so surprised, she said, she thought maybe Google had simply accepted everyone who entered.

“I had started with three whole pages, just a huge list of all the ways I could use it,” she said. “I had to take all those ideas and edit it down into 140 characters.”

Essentially a wearable computer, Glass is worn as a pair of lens-less glasses with a small transparent screen situated in front of one eye. The device is designed to operate as a hands-free smartphone-like apparatus that interacts with the Internet and responds to voice commands. Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said developers’ vision for Glass was a gadget that would allow users to connect with the world without looking down at a phone or hunched over a computer. For Moore, the endless possibilities for the device’s applications were the most exciting part.

“I didn’t even really know what [Glass] did, but that’s what sparked the creativity,” she said. “If there’s a takeaway from this so far, it’s that it has really sparked collaboration among teachers and what it could be used for in education.”

Moore brainstormed with both teachers and students about how Glass could be useful in the classroom, and ideas flowed like water. A field trip of La Jolla could be augmented by calling up on-site historical facts. Story telling in the classroom could be given new life. Students imagined being able to instantly translate texts into another language, while administrators envisioned walking around the building and being able to call up class-specific benchmarks without having to go back to an office to dig them up. Moore hopes both long- and short-term projects will abound, and students may even have a chance to individually check Glass out for a day.

“It really is a schoolwide effort,” Moore said. “I asked some students last year what they would do with them, and they had all these wonderful ideas — things I hadn’t even thought of. At a minimum, this experience has sparked ideas for education in general, not just with Glass.”
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