Monday, March 31, 2014

Point Park University's 1st Virtual Fieldtrip Using Google Glass

If you read my last post, you know that last week I went to Carnegie Mellon University to conduct a virtual field trip using Google Glass for students in the School of Business at Point Park University.

Prior to the trip, I had concerns about whether or not Glass would actually work as intended.  One of the glitches Glass has yet to overcome is its often inability to work around interference.  When Glass is surrounded by other technology such as computers, other WIFI networks, phones, etc., it runs the risk of not working properly.  Being that CMU is one of the most technologically rich universities in the world, I was a little worried that Glass would basically explode.  Fortunately for us, it did not!

I walked around the whole campus wearing Glass, giving the Point Park University students across town a virtual campus tour of CMU via a Google Hangout.  What sets Glass apart from a computer or a smartphone when using Google Hangouts is that the perspective changes.  Rather than seeing what the computer or smartphone camera would see, which is usually just a person's face, Glass projects what the wearer is seeing.  This first-person perspective gives the person on the other end of the Google Hangout the feeling that they are actually there!

We ended the virtual campus tour in the Office of Admissions for Heinz College, with an interview of the Director of Admissions who was able to talk about the new partnership between CMU and PPU.  The partnership awards Point Park University students accepted into graduate school at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College a scholarship of $6,000 per semester to help pay for their studies.  Check out CMU's website for more information on this partnership.

Though the trip was successful in its own right, the real success lies in the possibilities for the future; Glass can now be used for virtual field trips all over the city of Pittsburgh and even for virtual fieldtrips all over the world! We plan to use Glass to make Point Park University's School of Business even more hands on than it already is by literally bringing our students into the field they are studying.  Follow me as I continue to post about Glass and its use in higher education and go where no university has gone before!

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