Chris Squires just got a new pair of glasses.
Squires, 16, a senior digital design student at Delaware Area Career Center, is now one of about 8,000 Glass Explorers – the first users of Google Glass.
Google Glass is a wearable head-mounted computer of sorts. It sends messages, supplies images to the user, translates languages, surfs the Internet and, as Squires puts it, helps out in regular life.
Glass Explorers are not often students like Squires. The application process says the purchaser must be 18 or older and participation is not guaranteed. Squires wasn’t deterred. He contacted Google.
He asked about educational testing and pricing, hoping for a discount for the school use.
But the price tag was $1,500 plus tax.
Three months later, Google emailed him. Squires took the idea to use Google Glass to his digital design teacher Josh Gallagan.
“Any time a student comes to me with an idea of their own, I do my best to support it,” Gallagan said. “Seeing them take ownership of their education and get excited about what’s going on at school is what DACC is all about.”
Squires idea was a bit different – and it required money.
“(Gallagan) said, ‘OK, we’ll see what we could do for grant money,’” Squires said.
Gallagan encouraged Squires to write a proposal, including curriculum for the use of Google Glass, and to submit it to DACC’s Director of Secondary Operations.
“After I saw how much effort and thought Chris put into this idea, I was pretty confident that our administration would support it,” Gallagan said. “This is the kind of investment that keeps students engaged, gives them unique experiences, and prepares them to be successful when they graduate.”
Squires emailed it to DACC administration and got a response that day: DACC would supply a grant.
“DACC Administration understands the importance of providing our students with up-to-date and relevant equipment,” said Alicia Mowry, public information supervisor for DACC. “When this opportunity presented itself, it was one that we couldn’t pass by. Being part of a test market for a new technology can only help our students as they prepare to go to college and enter the workforce.”
Squires received the pair recently, and quickly began learning about his new technology. Then he began giving crash courses in its uses to other students. The students will start the official classroom instruction and testing of Google Glass soon.
“Google Glass is a great example of how technology is growing exponentially,” Gallagan said. “Giving my students this opportunity to test out a new technology is really opening their minds to so many possibilities. They’re not looking at a new gadget and trying to figure out how it works. They’re exploring a brand new product and thinking about what else it could do and how many purposes it could serve.”
Squires said already it’s changed his classroom experience.
“One of the most helpful things is if I’m doing a design and I have a reference picture, I can have the reference picture in my vision,” he said. “It’s great. It’s just kind of cool how you can do every day kind of things a little more hands-free.”
He said one of his fellow students who is an exchange student has been testing the translation functions of Google Glass.
“It’s something I can definitely see people using in the future,” Squires said.
There’s no official release date of Google Glass to the public. Google’s Glass Explorer information said they are still shaping how Google Glass will work and look when it hits the public market.