Google Glass at the SOJC

A classroom of public relations students were on the edge of their seats last week as they waited for School of Journalism and Communication professor Tiffany Gallicano to speak.

“OK, Glass,” she said. “Take a picture.”

In the blink of an eye Gallicano’s wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display, also known as Google Glass, captured her students grinning back at her.

Gallicano is among a limited group of people to get her hands on the highly anticipated device. Among its many features, the voice-controlled computer can connect to wireless internet and take photos and videos through a point-of-view perspective.

“It’s absolutely revolutionary,” said Gallicano. “It’s wearable technology – it’s the future.”

The glasses won’t become available to consumers until 2014, but when a colleague offered her the opportunity to test a prototype, she jumped at the chance to test them in the classroom.

Gallicano’s first application of the glasses was to record a dress rehearsal of her students’ client presentations. There were then assigned to watch the presentations, from Gallicano’s point of view, allowing them to gain valuable perspective before going out and presenting their work to actual clients.

“I am able to watch the presentations while videotaping them at the push of a button,” she said. “It’s incredible.”

Senior public relations major Brad Sheets attended class during Gallicano’s inaugural use.

“It was very cool,” he said. “It’s one thing being recorded by a camera somewhere in the room, but another thing to be recorded by someone seeing what you’re doing.”

The following day, a group of students from the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) borrowed the glasses for two agency tours in Portland. Google Glass allowed the students who couldn’t go on the tour to see what it was like to be there.

Gallicano said she foresees many other uses for device in the classroom. She could also use the glasses to allow students to ask her questions via tweet during class, do a Google search just by talking to the device or allow sick students to watch her class from home.

The glasses have the potential to transform not only the classroom experience, she said, but also communications industries.

“By giving students access to innovative technology, we’re also making them change-makers,” Gallicano said. “They’re going to be figuring out new uses for it in their industry.”