Thanks to a multitude of generous backers the project reached 100% funding on March 7th!! I am so excited that this project is going to become a reality and I can't wait to get started!
Since the Kickstarter page will be open until March 18th, you can still back the project and make a meaningful contribution! Check out the project stretch goals to see the stretch goal reward and where the funds would go.
Emergent technologies are consistently shaping and reframing the way that we perceive the world around us. From the widespread accessibility of the Internet to portability of information that cell phones provide, communication and sharing have reached ends society never before would have been able to imagine. With such devices so closely embedded amid our lives- helping to direct us, inform us, and interpret the world around us, -it’s important to stop and ask- how will this affect us? Even more, with the continuous literature recently explaining that time unplugged in nature is a health necessity and with the pressing ailments of climate change, what implications do these technologies have on our relationship with natural world?
In January of 2014 I was invited to become a Google Glass explorer by Cornell Professor Cynthia Johnston Turner after tweeting the following: “#ifIHadGlass I would explore what it means to the environmental educator and adventurous naturalist #CUGlass”
While Google Glass is still in development stages and has not been released publicly, the device is representative of the direction in which technology is headed. The wearable aspect represents the future of technology for many reasons as put nicely by the New York Times: "The most tantalizing promise of Glass is that it allows travelers to lift their heads from their smartphones and guidebooks, and engage with the landscape without having to forgo the technology on which they’ve come to rely: maps, the Internet, email, digital cameras." What Google Glass has to offer is attractive and exciting! If wearable technology is here to stay, how can environmental and science educators use it as a tool to achieve their goals? We don’t know the answer. It’s time to find out.
This project, Out Standing in the Field, aims to explore various ways to use Glass to connect folks to the natural world through two parts. Each part of the project will be hosted on the same blog with all project podcasts, explorations, and findings.
Part 1: The Outstanding in the Field portion will consist of an ongoing series of 15-20 minute video podcasts. Each podcast will document the work of an expert, explore who they are and why they are passionate about what they do, and shares an experience in the field with them through their perspective. Google Glass makes it possible for the expert to share what they are seeing while allowing their hands to be free. This provides an intimate look into the work of a wildlife researcher, biologist, paleontologist, or whatever expert is wearing the glass.
The audience gets insight on a whole new perspective and an experience they never would otherwise get. Key questions to explore are:
- How can scientists/nature experts use glass for outreach? Is wearable technology helpful in the field?
- Will the public respond positively to getting the close-up perspective of a field scientist? Will the perspective that glass provides and the live streaming option help people understand the vast amount of information we can learn from nature?
- Will glass effectively allow people to understand the methods through which scientists learn from nature?
My goal is to film and release at least 6 of these video podcasts by the end of this year. That means a new podcast about every 50 days. I don't plan on stopping after this kick-off year is over. In fact I intend to build upon this project from year to year, continuing to collaborate with other scientists and field experts. My vision is to generate publicity and spark excitement around the entire production that will inspire others.
Part 2: The Out Standing in the Field portion of the project will seek to drive the conversation of the role of technology in environmental education. On a media-filled blog, I will document the process of exploring the following questions:
- Can Glass provide people valuable experiences or interactions with the natural world?
- How can we motivate the public to appreciate and respect the natural world through technology like Glass?
- How can educators and naturalists use Google Glass and other technologies as a tool to get people outside and embracing nature?
These questions will be explored by talking with environmental educators around the country in order to get a variety of insight and perspectives. I’ll explore glass out in nature to test it's limits and to review various features for outdoor exploration. Sharing the exploration online will allow us to examine the potential to use glass as a tool for connecting people outside. All findings will be shared through videos, pictures, and stories in order to build the conversation of the role of tech in environmental education.
Wearable technology, like Google Glass is a potential game changer for the way we communicate and could revitalize the way we view and interact with nature. The information shared from this project has the potential to help to catalyze apps and technology usage optimal for supporting that positive nature connection. Will wearable tech help us to be more informed about the natural world around us? Will it help us to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors more? OR will it serve as a hindrance? Does it simply provide another barrier, another distraction? How can we use it rather to help us interpret and organically enhance our experiences with nature? We don’t know the answers to these questions but the success of this Kickstarter will get this exploration off the ground.
Working with the experts provides the unique opportunity to interact with people who have developed a life passion for various aspects of the natural world. Their experiences with the natural world and could provide keen insight on Glass technologies. What if every kid in the world instantaneous access to the "eyes" of any ecologist/researcher looking at any ecosystem? Not only could it provide insight to the vast majority of outdoor careers and the latest journeys and thrills in nature, but it could also provide unique experiences and better understanding of the world. By observing the outdoors with a researcher in the Southwest, Northeasterners and inner-city kids could discover that there is much more to a desert than sand, dunes, camels and the saguaro cactus. What if every naturalist or outdoor educator had Glass where they could keep their notes and house an identification guide? They could continue to guide a group of kids or adults with their hands entirely free and the group could see a recorded archive of the trip at the conclusion of their excursion.
There is a lot to explore and this is going to be an exciting journey. I look forward to sharing this experience with you so thank you for any and all of your support!
This campaign will fund the ≈ $1,700 for purchasing the Google Glass (Including Tax) The rest of the funding goes to website set-up (domain name and design) Kickstarter fees, and unforeseen costs which include equipment, travel, and shipping. Funds over the baseline goal will provide the ability to accommodate more traveling to document the experts and will support video equipment that will improve project documentation. *Since we reached the project baseline goal, CLICK HERE for stretch goal details!*
I can't do this without you so thank you for your contribution to this project and for helping to spread word to your family, friends, and followers!
Risks and challenges
Of course while the product is quite durable, in the unlikely case that it breaks while an expert is out in the mud flats or running away from bears, the podcast and exploration of technology and nature will go on. I'll get in touch with the Google Glass Support team and see what I can work out with them. From what I know, Glass is pretty durable but I hope to avoid any accidents by purchasing holders for the glass that will secure them onto the heads of the wearer so they don't accidentally fall. In the case that Glass does break, I will carry on with the blog and podcasts in order to continue hosting the conversation around how to use technology as a tool to get people out standing in the field. :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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