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Teaching students how to determine if a sow is in estrus is tricky. Bringing a class into the barn to watch would be distracting for the sows, and chaotic, given that space is limited and the procedure involves letting a boar or two loose in the barn to see which sows are interested. So animal sciences professor John Parrish uses video. But that too has posed problems.

“I would have another person perform the procedure while I recorded what they were doing,” explains Parrish, who teaches Reproductive Animal Physiology. “The problem is that I know what I want to record, but I can’t control what the other person is going to do, and they don’t do exactly what I want. And I can’t have someone else tape me, because they won’t get the image that I want.“

Now Parrish has a better way. He pops on a Google Glass unit and records and narrates the procedure as he performs it. His students watch online so they can figure out which sows are ready and then head to the barn to perform their next lab assignment: artificial insemination.

The Google Glass unit he uses is provided by the CALS Computer Lab, which used campus Instructional Lab Modernization Funding to acquire the technology to encourage instructional innovation.

While the Google Glass was purchased primarily to be used for instruction, researchers who have a good idea for their use can also sign them out to familiarize themselves with the tool. If you need inspiration, there are plenty of innovative instructional uses for GG described online.

The CALS Computer Lab was one of the original campus open computer labs dating back more than 20 years. There are a dozen computers available for walk-in use, a group study area, and two computer classrooms that can be reserved for trainings or classroom use. The lab also checks out equipment to students and university employees.  Thirty-five laptop computers are available for 3-day checkouts.  A few portable LCD projectors, camcorders, video recorders and Apple iPads are also available for check out.

Tom Tabone is the lab manager as well as the College’s instructional technologist. Those interested in reserving computer classroom time or in trying out the Google Glass should contact Tom (ttabone@wisc.edu).

 

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