BHS AP World History: Mongol Trial Through Glass

Ashay Lokhande and Michelle Sahagian both had the opportunity to wear Google Glass as they performed a cross examination of witnesses and delivered the closing argument during Ms. Fishel’s AP World History Mongol trial project. When I entered Ms. Fishel’s class with Glass and asked who wanted to try it, almost every student in the room raised his or her hand. Since Ashay and Michelle were about to participate in the trial, I decided to let them be the first BHS students to try Glass in the classroom. Below is a video featuring excerpts from the trial as seen through the eyes of Michelle and Ashay. I asked them both to share their Glass experience with me and here’s what they had to say:  

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Ashay Lokhande delivers his closing argument wearing Google Glass

The Google Glass are an innovative technological marvel, that certainly has some productive uses. I am honestly surprised at how little of a distraction the screen was. I was expecting the Google Glass to be nothing but a distraction, however, it had a fairly miniscule effect on my presentation. When I first saw the Google Glass I was like most people, I was skeptical. How would this be of use? Would this be too distracting to be used in any formal or intensive settings? However, I was proven wrong. The Google Glass certainly has its uses. It seems like it would be extremely useful for anyone who could benefit from recording their observations. It could be helpful for anything from giving a speech to conducting an experiment. However, Google Glass has more than just a video recorder. It has multiple functions and a unique control system to make it even more innovative. For example, one could call his/her friend from the Google Glass. This is something that everyone should research. Just search them up in GOOGLE! Seriously though, one does not have to be tech savvy to appreciate the use and innovation of the Google glass. The most surprising thing, however, was that it did not distract the user much. The screen can be so discrete that it can be used efficiently and productively in school. During the trial of the Mongols in my AP World class, I was able to say my closing statement with the glasses on. I was never distracted by them during my speech. This was a great experience, and is one that I cannot wait to relive.”

-Ashay Lokhande

Michelle Sahagian cross examines a witness wearing Google Glass

Michelle Sahagian cross examines a witness wearing Google Glass

“I think the glasses were really cool! It was strange that I could record everything I saw with them but I really liked it, and would definitely be interested in being able to use them more!”

-Michelle Sahagian

In addition to allowing her students to try Google Glass, Ms. Fishel integrated both blogging and Twitter into the Mongol Trial Project. As you noticed in the video, one of the students in the front row appeared to be on his phone the entire time. Was he texting and not paying attention? No he was not. When I followed-up with Ms. Fishel and inquired about what that student (and others) was doing on his phone, she explained that during the trial, and even before the trial started, students were live Tweeting using the hashtag #mongoltrial4. An archive of the Tweets, including some of the “pre-trial trash-talking” was curated by Ms. Fishel’s students using Storify and can be found here. In addition, each of the Mongol Trial teams created their own blogs. The prosecution’s blog was created with blogger and the defense’s blog was created using WordPress. The blogs, which students created working in teams, allowed students to reflect and critically analyze each day of the trial. Ms. Fishel’s project is a perfect example of how social media can be effectively integrated into a social studies curriculum. I’m glad I was able to observe the trial and share the first-person perspective of her students with the help of Google Glass.

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