Google Glass Gets Tested by Journalism Students

Posted on: September 17, 2013

Student using Google GlassStudents from assistant professor Jennifer Ware's journalism class are getting the rare opportunity to use a revolutionary technology device before the technology even hits the market.

They are among the first people in the world to test and use Google Glass - a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display developed by Google. The device displays information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format that can communicate with the Internet via voice commands. Among the many uses for the device are to shoot photos and record videos.

The students using the device are part of Ware's Spartan Online Newsroom class, JRN 400.

Ware is a Google Glass Explorer and is one of only 8,000 people from around the world selected to test the device after Google ran a contest asking how people would use Google Glass. Ware said she wanted to "bring on the future of journalism" and to test it out with her students.

"I want my students to have the best opportunities available and to be active explorers of technology," Ware said. "I also want to know what they think about the device and want to see what they will do with it because they are part of the future of journalism."

Every student in the class will have the opportunity to use the Google Glass device at least twice. They will be using the new technology to gather information for stories and share their feedback about the device with Ware.

"I am extremely honored to be able to use this when it's not even on the market yet," said Molly Mason, Journalism senior. "It says a lot that our professor saw this opportunity and went after it. It really shows how much MSU professors care about the education and success of their students.

"I didn't even know what Google Glass was until she mentioned it a few weeks ago."

The 16 students in the class were first introduced to the device on Sept. 12 and were already thinking about how this may help them with their future careers.

"This field (journalism) is constantly changing, and this is a fantastic opportunity for us to test and try new technology," said Eric Finkler, a senior with a double major in journalism and Arabic. "I feel like this may help give us an edge over other reporters coming out of college because it's all about familiarity."

The class is looking at how others are using Google Glass and thinking of ways they could use it both professionally and personally.

"There is countless potential for the device. Just within journalism, I can see where this would really be useful when covering natural disasters and breaking news," Mason said.

Finkler said "it's definitely going to make reporting more accessible and more personal" and was already thinking about other possible applications. "Maybe in the future there could be a way where this could monitor your heart rate?"

Google Glass is still in the testing and development stage and is expected to hit the market as early as the end of 2014.

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