"Ok, Glass, go to class." Google announced in July that five film schools would receive Google Glass eyewear for the fall semester. The selected colleges include American Film Institute, California Institute of the Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. The participating colleges were granted three pairs of the wearable computing devices and have since taken advantage of the futuristic gadget. Months have passed, and the Google Glass release date looms on the horizon (or perhaps on the San Francisco Bay). How have college students been experimenting with Glass?
Google Glass trials are underway, with students exploring the inventive and endless possibilities the wearable tech has to offer. One college in particular, RISD, has been testing out the eyewear for the past few months. RISD Associate Professor of Film, Animation and Video Daniel Peltz wrote in an email to The Herald that students are using Google Glasses in "collective experiments" and video classes.
"It's important that there be spaces where open-ended, non-commercial research overlaps with commercial product research and development," Peltz added in reference to the use of Google Glass in an academic environment.
USC Professor Marcia Dawkins also expresses an interest in further experimenting with Glass in an educational setting.
"One of the things I want to do with Glass is see how we can use it in a classroom, not only capturing students' perspectives but my own as an instructor," Dawkins said. "I'm very interested in looking at ... how it is able to tell stories about diversity and technology that show how our world may or may not be changing."
CalArts students also had an opportunity to play with the futuristic gadget. The college held a special Google Glass event during CalArts Weekend 2013 in October. The session, "Filmmaking with Google Glass," allowed students to take part in an informal "treasure hunt." "How is Glass at taking pictures, shooting video, searching the Internet, and composing email? How far can this experiment go?" the session description states.
Google Glass is clearly a hot topic among film and journalism students alike, considering the various functions of the smart eyewear. USC held an event centered around the wearable tech in August titled "Journalism Forum: Storytelling with Google Glass." Five Glass Explorers shared their experiences using the devices. One of these Explorers, USC doctoral student Francesca Marie Smith, is working with the Annenberg Innovation Lab to enhance the sensory experiences of film audiences and stated that she is interested in "a project about consumption of media through Glass, particularly the question of accessibility."
When will the public get a chance to experience the Google Glass projects being born out of these selected colleges? Check back for further updates as more Google Glass film news rolls out. What we do know is that Google executives are eager to hear about the experiences with the gadget.
"We're free to explore how to use Glass," stated RISD Professor John Terry in a press release, "but Google wants feedback. We'll send them examples of what we did at the end of the summer and then again at the end of 2013."
Will Google Glass gadgets find a future home in academic settings? It's evident that the wearable tech provides an innovative way for students to explore the fields of film and journalism from a radically different perspective. While the eyewear has yet to release to the public market, the trends indicate Google Glasses may be a future staple among visual media students.
Follow @MelanieHannah on Twitter for future Google Glass updates and other related musings.