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TEACHING AND LEARNING
ences. Teams used online data analytics "to see what ideas
were getting the most social conversation," Ward said.
The class conceived uses for Glass that were all over the
map. There was an app to select and play music based on
a user's mood, apps to help foodies find and get into the
best restaurants, and an application that would show
Glass users historical images of contemporary locations.
"Think about looking at your environment and seeing what
it looked like historically," said Ward, who described the
app as Ancestry.com for the physical environment.
It's not possible to know with certainty if Google Glass
will be the next big thing, Hernandez noted, or if it will be
an intriguing concept that never takes off, like flying cars.
He is nonetheless certain that change is coming. "The
mobile phone is dead. Wearables are emerging. They will
take over eventually," he said.
If the near-term adoption of wearable technology in some
form approaches that of, say, tablet computers following
their introduction, "in a year 30 percent of people could
have some form of wearable tech," predicted Ward. He
intends not to be blindsided by Glass.
"It's important for educators to be working in that space
and preparing students for a fast approaching future."
John Pulley is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC.
Training Faculty for
device breaks all the rules."
Patel said Google Glass and other wearable technolo-
gies could be game changers, affecting every aspect of
healthcare, from ethics to economics. "I think we will cre-
ate another discipline," she said.
Creating Sea Change
Say you're taking a walk when you see a woman wearing
a fringe jacket that would be the perfect gift for your sis-
ter's upcoming birthday. Within seconds, Google Glass
captures an image of the garment, conducts a Web search
and makes a Google Wallet purchase from Banana Repub-
lic. By comparison, Amazon's popular "one click" purchase
option seems quaint.
Using Glass to make on-the-spot, hands-free purchases
is one of the apps conjured up by students in a social media
class that uses Google Glass to facilitate learning. "I thought
it would be a neat way to learn social media," said William
Ward, a social media professor at Syracuse University's
(NY) S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Newhouse has at least eight pair of the glasses, and
people in the department have another half dozen or so. In
Ward's course, students from a diverse range of academic
disciplines used social media to crowdsource their Glass
app ideas via YouTube, SlideShare, Twitter, Vine, Facebook
and other channels. They also made pitches to live audi-
The inaugural class enrolled a diverse group of 21 stu-
dents, undergraduates working alongside doctoral candi-
dates in fields from computer science and psychology to
the health professions. Working in teams of four or five,
students thought about problems in healthcare and "how
the unique capabilities of a head-mounted computer might
be used" to solve them, Intille explained.
Google donated the devices as part of a research project
exploring the use of Google Glass for health applications.
Students developed prototypes for a handful of apps, includ-
ing a program designed to promote social development
among people with autism. The app uses Google Glass'
video-recording capability to capture and guide personal
interactions. "The technology can react to you," Intille said.
Other teams developed apps that transform Google Glass
into a speech therapy device. There is an application designed
to help people with autism live more independently and one
that helps healthcare providers to remember and complete
every step of a medical procedure. Research has found that
consistent application of best practices for routine proce-
dures dramatically reduces infections and other complica-
tions. One team developed an app to help older people who
live independently to communicate with their families.
"All the ideas would take a lot more development to be
ready for prime time," Intille said. "You have to start from
scratch [because] the human-computer interaction of the
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