First Experiences with Google Glass at School

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to Langwitches Blog


In December, I received a Google Invite to become a Google Glass Explorer. I was not given much time to accept the hefty price tag or let the Google invite expire. In the name of education and my passion for thinking and exploring new ways to transform teaching and learning, I accepted…. (still not sure how I feel about …)

On Monday, I took my Google Glass for the first time to school. We had a pre-service workshop planned (we just returned to school after the summer break here in the Southern Hemisphere) and I wanted to test if I could use the device to document the workshop to

  • capture moments of discussion
  • record what the presenters shared
  • share what participants contributed to the conversation

Google Glass- Reflection Workshop from langwitches on Vimeo.

Here are a few thoughts after the first week:

  • I am overwhelmed ( …too much stimuli)
  • Not as intuitive as I thought it would be…  (I feel like a student driver having to pause, before I step on the clutch>shift into gear>push the gas pedal> slowly let go of the clutch… while at the same time look in all the mirrors and forward to steer where I need to go)
  • My fluency is missing. (…yes… that one… the one that I am so used to having with my smartphone, iPad and laptop…so used to it in fact that I usually don’t think about it anymore… I feel illiterate…)
  • Tickling behind the ear from speaker that vibrates the bone behind my ear… (…It is a weird feeling…)
  • battery life…(…used to battery lasting all day+ with my other devices…) need to build in breaks during the day to recharge..
  • Unit gets hot when using too much (especially recording video and googling)
  • Long, curly and unruly hair that constantly tangles in front of the camera is a problem in terms of recording,  tapping and swiping. (… not cutting my hair or wearing a pony tail is not an option…)
  • I was not prepared for the attention and the varied reactions the device evoked in people. (… I am admitting that the varied emotions from colleagues and students have hit me almost like a brick… from super excited to curious, not interested to (not openly) negative and almost hostile emotions. Again, NOT all of the reactions were verbal or bodily clues, but more (strong) waves of emotions directed in my direction… Never quite experienced or was aware of something similar…
  • Feeling on the spot when recording… self conscious… what do I say? How does my voice sound?
  • I am definitely in the Substitution stage, when looking at using Google Glass through the lens of the SAMR model.

Many colleagues wanted to see what I was seeing and were eager to try the Google Glass on. The easiest instruction, I was able to give, as I could not see what they were seeing on the screen was:

  • When you see the time… say “OK Glass”, then “take a picture”.
  • Swipe down… then tap on Glass again and swipe forward to see the last images taken.

So far, I was not able to screencast from Google Glass to my iPhone via wifi (it continuous to show me the black screen with the instructions, even though glass and iPhone are on the same network. It is simply too much multitasking to handle Glass, turn off wifi, then turn on bluetooth, then connect iPhone and Glass to be able to demonstrate screencast on the spot…)

It was interesting (also for me) to later see the images the testers had taken..


(tall perspective… this is how I look to a tall person…I was not aware that the ceiling could look so threatening… 🙂


(test shot from someone that is more of my height)

Google Glass test

Curious colleagues having a go at wearing Google Glass.

photo 3

photo 4

Here is a selfie to show how I am managing using my reading glasses at the same time as Google Glass. Not the best solution, but it seems to work for now….



Students were lining up after class asking to wear Google Glass in order to give it a try. Most of them had heard of Google Glass. It spread like wild fire throughout our Middle School.  There were a lot of  “cool” and “wow”. It wasn’t long before Paparazzi also arrived wanting to take a picture of Google Glass as evidence of having seen one.

Do you remember the first email you sent? The first email you received? Remember having to dial in to check your email and not being able to use the phone line while you were online?


Above is a vignette image taken with Google Glass. I was sitting with a new students, helping  set up her school laptop. I received a vibration sound behind my ear and looked up from the computer screen at the Glass screen to see that my mother had emailed me an article from the La Nación (Argentinean Newspaper) about how wearing Google Glass could get me into legal problems. The irony of the moment was not lost on me. 🙂


I am not the only explorer at our school. A High School student, Bruno, is also a committed user. I felt a sort of camaraderie, as both of us are on the forefront by experimenting and walking a fine line.  What is acceptable in a school environment regarding wearable technology and what is not? Bruno has been wearing Glass routinely during the day, showing a much higher fluency and adaptation. He inspired me to make sure that I was only going to find out how Glass was going to transform my work, if I wore it consistently. It reminded me of ” The best camera you will ever have, is the one that you have with you” that pushed my iPhone into the number one position to be followed by my SLR camera.

While my focus of using Google Glass to “explore new worlds” in terms of teaching and learning, Bruno is focused of finding innovative ways to transform and “make his life easier”.  His point of view is that of an app developer.

Just as I experienced a myriad of reactions when wearing Glass, a student wearing Google Glass, a technology that all of us (administrators, teachers and peers) are not familiar with, inevitably will bring up anxieties, disruption and fear.

Bruno is dealing with setting the example at our school. What will this mean when more and more students start having these powerful devices and will  that mean in terms of teacher/student relationship, student learning, curriculum, assessment practices, what do we consider cheating, how do we deal with multitasking, distractions, inappropriate use of the technology, etc.?

I believe Bruno is aware that he is setting the example and is taking on the responsibility.  Our school administrators and teachers are recognizing the need to start the conversation now! WHAT DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY MEAN IN OUR EDUCATIONAL SPACES? They are also recognizing that Bruno is an integral part of that conversation to craft a policy that does not BAN and BLOCK, but encourages exploration and innovation.

I am looking forward to being part of that conversation…

School policy regarding wearable technology were not the only discussion that were sparked by the simple appearance of Google Glass on campus. I have had super interesting conversation about

  • the meaning of wearable technology and what does that mean for our future?
  • we wondered if in 10 years, we will laugh about how “silly” we/I looked with such a “big” device on our/my head (same type of feeling when we think of the size of our first cell phones or the big air conditioned rooms that held a computer…)
  • Image in Public Domain

    Image in Public Domain

  • Freely giving away our private data (GPS location? What do we see at the moment? What words are we googling? etc.) I am not saying that we are not already doing this with other devices, but wearable devices have the purpose of making it even more “natural” and instantaneous to do all these tasks and transmitting and sending them. (… I have to admit I am increasingly more uncomfortable when Google ( or other companies), by default, takes the choice of NOT wanting to share or collect data away from me…
  • What about Google Glass etiquette? When is it appropriate? When is it inappropriate? What about in an educational environment? What about in public spaces? (… I am very conscious of etiquette… I know I am walking a fine line as soon as I wear Google Glass… I want to be able to gain the trust of colleagues and students… that I will not take images nor film without making sure that they are aware of the device being on and a “no questions asked” policy if someone feels uncomfortable…)
  • How can we use such a “disruptive” device to transform (re-define) what we teach and learn?

I was able to take Google glass into a Science classroom (with permission from the teacher ,of course) and take photos and videos of the students conducting a lab. Google Glass is such a novelty though that students were interested in Glass rather than their lab… most of them begging to wear them…I was very conscious of NOT wanting to disrupt the class (…. will need to make sure that students have a chance to look at them, ask questions and wear them… before I go into the next classroom)


Google Glass- Science from langwitches on Vimeo.

I also wanted to test out wearing Google Glass while driving… yes,  I can hear all of you yelling at me from afar. I literally have a 2 minute drive to school… I left a little extra early for even less traffic… and as you will be able to tell from the video, I am a VERY safe driver… looking several times right/left/right/left and one more time, before turning at an intersection…

Google Glass- Way to Work from langwitches on Vimeo.

3 Steps To Start Learning How 2 Learn

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

There are a lot of thoughts and ideas about what learning in the 21st century is supposed to look like. Most likely you are constantly bombarded with books, workshops, keynote presentations, webinars and good old lectures (yes, even on the topic of modern learning…) that remind you that it is time to upgrade traditional teaching and learning.


It is NOT about technology, but about thinking > We live in an era of information overload. We need help in filtering and managing it > Collaboration and sharing is at the heart of learning > What happens to the work that is not shared? > People and relationships are at the heart of learning > Our network is what propels us to action!

The following six quotes from Judy O’Connell, Alan November, Mitchel Kapor, Clay ShirkeyHeidi Hayes Jacobs and Chris Lehman exemplify the backdrop for taking action as a learner in 2013 and beyond…They plant the seeds and layout the path to not just LISTEN TO and TALK about what should/needs to be done, but also set the stage for 3 Steps to START learning how to learn.







Some will continue to listen to and read about these visionary ideas, but when Monday morning (or the next week, next quarter, next semester or next school year) rolls around, the routine sets in and everything is back to business… to normal…to last century…

I am more convinced than ever ( and will keep saying)  that NOTHING will change in teaching UNLESS, educators have an opportunity and the motivation to EXPERIENCE new ways of learning for THEMSELVES!

I have a suggestion for the ones that have heard, have listened, but do not know where to start.

3 Steps to get started in managing their information overload, starting to document their work with an audience in mind and share their work, becoming part of the conversation and the mechanism of connected learning.

  1. Curating via Social Bookmarking
  2. Using a blogging platform to document work, learn with and through media, create with an audience in mind (read,  write and comments on blogs)
  3. Create a learning network via Twitter to build relationships, participate in conversations and contribute to the learning of others by filtering through your lens (perspective/area of expertise) and by adding value





It is about telling your story. As you are telling it, you are teaching and modeling for others. You are engaging in a metacognitive process to help  make sense of learning today (so different than when we grew up). Over time, telling your story, will create your unique brand of learning.


Amplifying Learning Opportunities- Part III of Literature Circles

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

cross posted to the Langwitches blog

In Part 1 of Literature Circle Discussions, I shared 6th Grade Humanities teacher, Emily Vallillo‘s well structured and organized Literature Circle lesson. In Part 2, I shared the upgrade of traditional lit circles to a new learnflow which included filming the discussion to annotexting the film with behavior’s observed and metacognitive reflections on student blogfolios.

DUE to the sharing of their work on their blogfolios and the dissemination on Langwitches blog as well as via my network on Twitter the learnflow did not stop, a new learning opportunity arose, when Author, founder and co-director of Habits of Mind, Bena Kallick made contact.

Students and teachers are getting a taste of and are being reminded that learning in a connected world is never over… The simple fact of documenting and taking the time to publish “what we are doing in class”… is connecting us to a world of learning opportunities.


We arranged a Skype visit. In order to prepare for the call, students learned about the author by researching the Internet and set up different jobs they were responsible for during the video conference.


  • Videographer (recording Skype call)
  • photographer (taking visual notes with images)
  • Official Scribe (official note taker of Skype conversation)
  • Speakers (introduction, keep the flow of conversation going)
  • Note Takers (taking individual notes for themselves)
  • Live Blogger (create a post for the classroom blog)


We looked at our objectives for the Skype call

  • Awareness that sharing with a global audience amplifies learning opportunities
  • Learning and information do not only come from texts and books
  • Metacognition of learning habits
  • Connections to own work
  • Communication skills
  • Collaboration skills
  • Note taking skills
  • Awareness and modeling of network, media, global and information literacy

skype-bena-kallick-flip camera

Agenda for Skype Call

  1. Introduction
  2. Students explain their work in literacy circles, process of creating the video and annotexting.
  3. Bena talks about how she found out about students’ work about Literacy Circles. How she made connections to her own work
  4. What are habits of Minds? How are they related to learning targets?
  5. Q & A


While the different stages of the Literature circle work were part of the learnflow,

  • lit circle discussion>
  • filming >
  • annotexting>
  • reflecting >
  • sharing >
  • disseminating>
  • receiving feedback >
  • making connections>
  • Skype call


I observed the students’ workflow in the classroom:

  • Speakers were in charge of introducing our school and talking with our expert. They had been prepared with the agenda of the skype call
  • A collaborative Google Doc had been shared with all the students to add questions that they had for the expert. One student, sitting next to the speakers was in charge of keeping up with the incoming questions and speaking to the expert during Q& A time. He marked already asked questions and selected best suited questions from the growing list on the document.
  • A Live Blogger was in charge of preparing a post on the classroom blog. He was to incorporate images from the photographer and video segments, once the video was edited.


After the call was over, we realized that we had much information about the call “stored”in different places as well as as different media. Our job was to figure out HOW to CONNECT the different types of information.

  • in our brains
  • on the Flip camera
  • images on our phones and iPads
  • on a Google Doc (Official Scribe)
  • on the classroom blog (Live Blogger)
  • on individual notes (note takers)
  • on a collaborative Google Doc

The Official Scribe documented the Skype call. See a sample below:

Bena – “What kind of questions do you ask at the circles?
Brenna – “Clarifying questions and Deep Discussion

Bena – How does that extra person help? The person taking notes in the discussion.
Maya – At the end of the discussion, they tell us what we do well on, what we should improve, what they liked about the discussion.

Bena – Are you using Habits of Mind? I think it would help sort of, help you guys to discover new things.
No, but I think we might start to.

Where did you get the idea of habits of mind? And When did you make it?
Bena – “I had the idea since I worked with my partner, and we started looking at all those different ways to think like in those literature circles. All of those skills like comparing and contrasting. Disposition for thinking – not only do you know how to compare + contrast but you dare to do so disposition attitude are called habits of mind. Listening is a habit of mind and empathy, because you are not just going to say something, but you ask questions and try to understand the points of view.” “When I hear another person’s perspective, you try to understand – Helping your mind be as flexible as possible”

Why did you choose us?
Bena – “You are special. I was interested in what you guys were doing. Since I was following Mrs. Tolisano, I saw it. I wanted to bring Habits of Mind to your work, so you don’t just use ordinary skills, but you understand them. I skyped with other classes. What makes you special, is that you guys brought in technology.”

Can we have this for other subjects?
Bena – “Habits of mind are beyond any of the areas. You can use it for any area and even outside school. I worked with students working with habits of mind, some people started getting bored at a party, and they thought flexibly and used skills. I hope you can bring them everywhere. Where would you get it? Bring it to some of your classes and show them about it.”

Have all your books been about habits of mind?
Bena – “They have been about educational things. Not all habits of mind, but all about how to think and ways of thinking. Higher level thinking is how the world is right now. You are asking good questions which is a habit of mind. Communication, which you guys are doing. From Mrs. Tolisano, I noticed you guys work hard, and maybe you can start mapping things out. I have co authored all my books 16! Thinking collaboratively, is also a habit which is why I worked with a partner.”

As part of the debriefing, students contributed a short “One Thing I Remember…” ( here is a selection of their answers)

  • I remember that she said “Habits of mind are everywhere”that affected me because it made me think that we think all the time and we don’t even notice it -Jess-

  • What I remember the most is the I remember the most from the conference was how she talked about how you should be flexible, so that creativity will come to you, also, you will learn more. -Maya-

  • I remember that she said that habits of mind can be used outside of school. – Jack

  • I remember when she said that she made the museum for teachers and students who is going to learn about habits of thinking. -Nana-

  • I remember how she said that it [HOM] wasn’t only for humanities or english but it is for everything.-Martin-

  • One thing I remember is how Bena said that people need to learn how to use more exquisite language in our everyday talking instead of saying “that was awesome” but saying why it was “awesome” and making our conversations meaningful-Claudia

  • I remember when she mentioned that she made a museum for a good reason that really was an inspiring thing to help kids understand about how important habits of mind.. -Juan Pablo

  • Something I remember Is that she said habit’s of mind can be used anywhere.- Camila

  • One thing I remember is that she said that she created the museum for students and teachers that were going to about the habits of thinking and I thought that was really cool. – Gabe

  • André – One thing that I remember she said was that she said that two people are better than one, so she likes to write books with other people.

  • One thing that I remember is that she said that not all [her] books are about habits of mind but all of them have a connection to education. Juan

  • Yael – I remember is that she said she worked with partners because of the habit of Thinking Interdependently. Also, how she worked with a partner for all of the books because it is better to work with two minds that have two perspectives, than one mind that thinks on its own.

  • I remember that she said how people at a pajama party decided to use the habits of mind and think flexible. – Brenna 😉


Habits of Minds from langwitches on Vimeo.

Connected Educators, Leaders and Schools

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to Langwitches Blog

Connected students need connected teachers. Connected teachers need backing from connected administrators. Connected administrators create and support connected schools!

What do I mean by connected?

I am looking beyond the traditional meaning of being connected. It is not as simple as looking at traditional networking… belonging to a Rotary Club…going to educational conferences… knowing your colleagues and staff… attending the local area school network days… I mean being connected to people (who you most likely will never meet) who inspire, support and amplify your LEARNING.

It is an intentional connection for specific purposes not merely a passive “knowing the right people”. Being connected means reaching out for diverse perspective, conversation partners, collaborative or crowdsourcing opportunities  as part of your everyday work and learn flow. The following short video shares what being connected means to several educators who are living the “connected life” as a professional educator.

What are some next steps for administrators to become connected leaders and learners? connected-leader

Next Steps:

  1. Dedicate time: minimum 15 minutes a day
  2. Grow your PLN: read blogs and Twitter
  3. Tell a story: Go beyond marketing for your school, but see sharing as part of the mechanism of your network.
  4. Bring connected learning to the consciousness of your learning community
  5. Participate actively: Seek out online conference, Twitter chats or follow Twitter hashtags around an interesting conversation

As a connected learner, I look to my network to:

  1. gather resources I had not seen (see 1 below)
  2. have a conversation about the topic I am exploring or wrapping my mind around  (see 2)
  3. listen to points of view I had not considered (see 3)
  4. get inspiration (and sometimes a laugh)  from people who are so much more creative than I am :) (see 4)
  5. be part of a crowdsourcing experience (see 5)

1) Using the #ce13 hashtag or reading customized magazine style RSS readers,  I am connected to a constant flow of resources and conversations going on. I came across the following blog post by George CourosIsolation is Now a Choice Educators Make.

2) By tweeting the link, @cmtmalvern responded with an intriguing statement and a short, spontaneous and instantaneous conversation had started.


3) I also had a face2face conversation with my Director of Technology, Mike Dunlop, who was questioning (as I was developing the image of the Connected Leader above) that I was heavily leaning towards Twitter and Blogging as the preferred platform FOR connecting. I am guilty as charged. I am biased towards twitting and blogging, since these are the platforms that I am most familiar with and primarily use for connecting. I DO agree with him though that they are NOT the only choices for becoming a connected administrator or leader.


Take a look at The American School of Bombay  and their statement on LinkedIn.

“Aligned with our Mission, Core Values, and Strategic Objectives, ASB uses LinkedIn to support and develop:

  1. Professional connections within the ASB Community

  2. Connections to potential speakers for the classroom, division, or at the school-wide level

  3. Associations and partnerships with organizations in support of school initiatives

  4. Relationships with local, national, and international governmental and education institutions”



Pinterest is quickly developing into a viable source for inspiration and connections to other educators I found the Singapore American School’s presence on Pinterest  visually connecting and “” Celebrating all things SAS!”



3) & 4) My friend and colleague, Mike Fisher, responded to a question (What to say when an administrator asks WHY do I need to be connected?)  I posted on Twitter (but which gets automatically posted to my  Facebook page.

“Anything that is unplugged won’t work. Want to be electric? Bright? Productive? Plug in!”


5) I am extremely intrigued by the transformational learning experience of crowdsourcing. Transformational… because it simply would not have been possible to create and learn in this amplified way before the existence of technology and our connections and network.

Sheryl Nussbaum Beach asked her network to contribute to a document as she wondered  where to best begin to authentically build the connected school? Take a look… what do you wonder about?

This is a collective wondering by educational leaders in Northern Ontario. Feel free to help us build collective intelligence by adding your ideas to their questions. Just start by typing below the question with your resources, blog, experiences, answers or suggestions. Maybe extend the wondering with questions of your own. Be sure and include your Twitter name so they can follow you and follow up.

Not only do we learn from people who otherwise we would never have been in contact with, but  as Joan Young points out in her blog post 7 Ways My Classroom is Better Because I Connect

I learn from the collective wisdom of the crowd. We promote the idea that students should develop skills by observing others as they learn and make mistakes. Surely it makes sense for us to connect and learn vicariously through the lives and work of other teachers.  If another teacher has used a process or tool and has shared what worked or didn’t work, this can save enormous time and energy. My students then have a teacher who is not as exhausted, but continuously inspired by stories of “what really works.”

How do you interpret the shift of what a connected educator means? How is it different? Are we talking at cross purposes when we think of being connected?

Further Resources: