Google Glass has been a very cool tool to use over the last couple of months. From conferences to classrooms to even guest lectures – it has provided a great opportunity for me to showcase and share with others what it is like with Glass.
One of the things I have tried to do as a Google Glass Explorer is not only look at how it can be used in the classroom and in research, but how it can be applied strategically for organizations and brands. Naturally, there are many brands in Louisville to choose from, but the first one I was able to share Google Glass with was UofL Athletics.
How did this come about? One of the things that has been great about being at UofL has been the partnership between athletics and academics when it comes to social media. We have a group dedicated to talking about social media and its new trends on a regular basis. This was how I first met Nick Stover, who is the Director of Social Media for UofL Athletics.
Rewind a few months ago – I announced in July that I was getting a pair of Google Glasses on social media, and the first person to ask me how I got to be part of the program was Nick. Realizing that 1) Google Glass was a relatively new tool to be used and is being tested out and 2) we are still not aware of when it will be available to the public – it presented a unique opportunity that was both strategic and innovative.
What if we were able to use Google Glass in and outside the classroom? Several professors have been innovative with their uses of Google Glass in the classroom (like William Ward - he’s done some amazing things with it in his class!), but there never seemed to be a partnership where you truly saw a shared experience beyond the classroom.
It’s one thing to brainstorm how we can use Google Glass in the classroom – but it is another to actually implement and use it strategically. So, this is what we did at UofL. We knew that this would separate the athletic experience from other competing university programs in a big way – and also provided a unique view of the point of view and story of UofL as a team, university, and environment.
After showing Nick the basics on how to operate and use Google Glass, I was able to set him up with the Guest feature (where he would be able to take videos and pictures, but not look at my specific Google Glass account) and have him take videos and pictures of what it was like at the recent UofL v. UCF football game (which was our homecoming).
What Google Glass has done in the case of UofL Athletics is provide a unique point of view of what it is like to experience a UofL Football game – what it is like to walk in the traditional Cardinal March with the players and coaches and what is feels like to be on the sidelines of a packed football stadium full of UofL fans. You got to see our QB Teddy Bridgewater interact with fans and see the homecoming ceremony from the sidelines. It felt like you were right there in the game – which is one of the great things Google Glass does – it’s quite the personalized experience to share your point of view with others.
So, as a professor and Google Glass explorer, what did it teach me? There were several things that it taught me about this experience:
- Technology is great to brainstorm, but you really have to apply it and test it out to see how it works. I viewed this as an opportunity to bring Google Glass to the classroom of life for the first time – which was both exciting and made me nervous to tell you the truth. You never know what others may think of the technology and how it could be used, but this showed it was a great experience for everyone.
- Field research (which this can be categorized as being) is crucial when it comes to emerging technology: You have to expand the horizon on how this can be used. Look at where social media is today – it’s not just in the classroom, but it is everywhere! We have to have this same philosophy when it comes to tools like Google Glass.
- Training and education is essential. You have to spend the time going over the basic functions, what you can do with the technology.
- Empower audiences with these shared experiences: One of the stereotypes happening with Google Glass Explorers is the fax they are being called “Glass*****” because they don’t allow anyone to test out Glass. I didn’t want to be one of these explorers, but I felt it was necessary to allow certain people to test this out for themselves to share these experiences. With this, I think it has empowered the UofL Athletics department with their audiences because of this unique viewpoint and sharing this with all audiences (fans, students, players, media, etc). So, it was definitely a win-win situation for all involved.
- Always have Plan B. If the battery is dead – what do you do? How do you delete pictures and transfer them? These are all things that need to be covered before an event, which we did.
- Trust is absolutely key. You have to make sure you go over the protocols for the tools and this is again where training comes into play.
Overall, it was fun to see Google Glass being used to share the stories, experiences, and point of view of UofL Athletics. I am sure that we are going to see more sports teams around the nation implement this new tool to showcase their teams, players, coaches, and fans – but it was fun to see it first being done here at the University of Louisville.
Hope you all are having a great day!