You Need Spyglasses – Are you Serious?

You Need Spyglasses – Are you Serious?

So far in this week’s series on mobile technology in education I have discussed:

  1. Are UMPCs Going to Convert Courses from Paper Based to Digital?
  2. Mobile Web Usage is Increasing – How Will You Use It With Students?

Today I am going to discuss how a simple request for spyglasses made my boss think I was absolutely nuts! She thought my spyglasses were so funny she included them in the show they put on at the work Christmas party.

What are Spyglasses?

Spyglasses are sunglasses with inbuilt miniature video camera. They are most commonly used in the surveillance industry. Alternative names used include undercover digital video recorder and miniature video recorder.

The video camera is located in the centre of the sunglasses and a cord that looks like a sun glass safety cord carries the video signal to a portable media player that records the video.


How Spyglasses are being used

Geoff Lubich (Pilbara TAFE, Western Australia) introduced spyglasses for students based in workplaces. His students are geographically dispersed – spyglasses means he can reduce worksplace visits by getting his trainees/apprentice to record themselves doing tasks in their workplace and forward the video to their lecturers.

I got the spyglasses for speeding up the process of creating video podcasts – when creating how to do skills that need to be filmed over the shoulder. Normally these types of videos would require two people.

Check out the video below showing my spyglasses in action:

*****If the video is missing in your Feed Reader here is the link to it a Google Video! *****

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

What are your thoughts on Spyglasses?

  • Are you currently using Spyglasses? If so, how?
  • Cool or not cool?

16 thoughts on “You Need Spyglasses – Are you Serious?

  1. Pretty darn cool. I like example of the apprentice wearing them to get feedback. I wonder what other uses they have in education. Scientific labs? Recording observations of wildlife and nature?

    what do they cost? Where does one get them?

  2. Hi Sue, I am going to forward the link to this post into Mark Deplater, he is the Faculty Manager for Construction & Transport here and I’m pretty sure he’s trialling these glasses at the moment.

  3. Hi Brian

    I think any situation where you only had one person, needed to keep your hands free and wanted to film.

    The main thing you need to realise is the quality of the video is not as good as using a digital camera or digital video camera.

    Suggest you search the net – lots of place in USA sell them – try spy or surveillance web sites. How much you pay will dictate how robust they are. Mine cost more than my 8mm digital video camera – so not cheap.


  4. Hi Christine

    Thanks for the feedback. Based on your comment I also did a search and came up with all bar one article that refers to information from one of my sites. Which is good news.

    This is also the reason why this week I decided to write articles on mobile technology and m-learning that focused on devices other what most people write about. To make realise that there are so many other options available. The post on UMPCs has been very popular probably because not many people have posted on the topic.


  5. Hi All
    it is gratifying to know that there are people within our education systems who are also interested in leading the way in developing the [email protected] to enable the use of emerging and future technologies. As the person who has put enormous effort into introducing and developing this hardware and isolating and overcoming the problems in the commercially available glasses i invite all interested parties to visit to garner more imformation about these technolgies.Please do not just go ahead and order the glasses available from internet suppliers as this may lead to dissapointment in the performance of the cameras.The cameras of the net are low light cameras that do not provide the performance that Sue is achieving with the gen 2 set that she is using.These cameras have been modified at production to make the camera element more reactive and responsive to normal light situations I must congratulate and thank Sue @ Dave for their efforts in making effective use of the system and disseminating the concept through their blog

  6. Thanks Geoff for dropping past and letting everyone know where they can find out more information on spyglasses.

    One of the lecturers from fashion used my spyglasses last week for creating instructional videos. Excellent quality. On problem for her is she is using a Mac and the file format is not supported on the Mac. Does the new version of the glasses record in a different file format?

    BTW All the work on my sites is me – Dave my husband is the technology widower who nicely puts up with me working all the time. 🙂 So I suppose that means he is the most important member of the team?


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  9. Sue, I told my principal about the webmeeting about mobile devices and spyglasses. She loves it all too.
    While I was cooking, ideas began about practical uses of spy glasses for the the elementary level.
    I wanted help with my cooking, and realized that anyone seeing the steps that I took could easily advise me as to where I was going wrong and offer suggestions.
    What else would really be important to have eye-level view videos? What types of eye-level videos would benefit students &/or teachers?
    Multi-step directions – all types
    Nature walks
    Science experiments
    First aide skills
    Point-of-view digital story-telling
    Field trip sharing (esp with our tighter budgets this year)
    …and cooking
    The list can be endless if we just let it.
    Sue, Thank you for pushing us all to think outside of the box, and for motivating us to take the next step!

    1. Hi JoNelle, another option to using Spyglasses (or point-of-view glasses) is to use two people where one does the task and the other uses a digital camera on video mode filming from behind the person. I use Canon cameras because they film in avi format which makes editing easier.

      Then the idea for watching the videos is you let the students use their own mobile devices and then download onto them. That way you aren’t haven’t to purchase the devices that become outdated within a short period of time. The student can watch the task on their own devices, at school or home, at their own pace, over and over.

      Glad the session made you think of other ways of doing things.

  10. Hi Sue,
    Just wondering, have you had any issues with privacy using spyglasses? Have you put any specific guidelines in place for students, or anything like that?

    Was going to Twitter the network, for their thoughts, but it’s blocked at TAFE NSW 🙁 so I thought contacting you might be my best option!


    1. My role with using the Spyglasses or POV has been that I obtained them but they are being used by another section of my Campus. So as such I haven’t been involved with that aspect. But with all of these types of tools there should always be guidelines.

      I suggest you contact Alex Hayes as he is heavily involved with their development — or would you rather I did asked him for you?

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