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College Course Asks Students To Develop Google Glass Apps As Homework

Syracuse University class dreams up new ways to utilize the technology, developing the best into real programs.

Sara Boboltz
Sara Boboltz on October 17, 2013. @sara_bee

The lucky students in Dr. William J. Ward’s social media classes at Syracuse University have the chance to play around with Google Glass — at a small price. They’ve been charged with a semester-long project to think up new applications for the augmented reality devices, with the most popular ideas developed into actual apps.

Through Google’s Glass Explorer program, Dr. William J. Ward secured access to the devices for his students. Throughout the course of the semester, students will have the chance to try Glass for themselves, think up a useful app, and develop their ideas in teams using social media to garner support. The class will develop its most popular concepts into prototype apps with coding help from a university developer. Ward talked about the merits of his course:

Companies are trying to figure out Glass and mobile, and here are students figuring out solutions and solving problems on their own. Hopefully, that experience helps them prepare to jump into a company grappling with those issues — or start their own business.

Last week, each student was given 10 minutes to pitch his or her app idea to a panel of startup founders and professors, who offered feedback. One idea offered a sort of “time travel,” the chance to see what an area looked like decades ago, while another allowed autistic children to learn through videos. Now the group is working to polish their ideas and promote them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the like.

But students aren’t graded on the success of their app, per se. They’re evaluated on “how well they tell [their app's] story,” Ward explained:

If you can’t convince people of your idea’s merits, you’ll never get it off the ground.

Google Glass

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