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7/5/2014 12:42:00 PM
CF native is beta-testing new Google Glass in St. Peter class

The following article is courtesy of the Mankato Free Press. It features Cannon Falls native Angie (Peterson) Potts, a teacher in the St. Peter School District.

Potts is the daughter of Chuck Peterson of Cannon Falls and Darla Dahl of Northfield.

She is the granddaughter of Harold and Rose Peterson and Duane and Judy Holt, all of Cannon Falls.

Angie, who attended Cannon Falls schools until 1998 before graduating from Northfield in 2000, is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College where she was an Education major.

Her siblings are Brandon Peterson and Brittany (Peterson) Meza.

Angie says Cannon Falls will always be home and treasures memories of growing up on the farm and being involved in sports in Cannon Falls. She still comes here often for Holiday and other family gatherings.

She is married to Charlie Potts. They met at Gustavus.Potts is now assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life at Gustavus. Angie and Charlie have twins, Ethan and Owen, who will start kindergarten this Fall.

By Amanda Dyslin

Mankato Free Press

Ten years ago, Angie Potts' classroom at North Intermediate in St. Peter would have seemed quite the unusual place to both teachers and students.

At each student station - named for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) innovators like Henry Ford and Sir Isaac Newton - fourth-grade kids are engaged with technology.

They're uploading videos to YouTube, they're playing group interactive games on tablets, and they're using the Internet to learn about today's lesson: vehicles.

Part of the exploration of cars on their iPads involved some imagination: "If you were to make a car, what would you want it to look like?" Riley Throldahl was proud to show his to Potts.

"So you would design a car that would fly, go under water, and shrink?" said Potts, a third- through sixth-grade STEM teacher. "What if it shrinks when you're in it?"

"Then you would shrink, too," he said.

"Sweet, sign me up," Potts said.

As Potts walks around the classroom to engage with her students and help with projects, she's engaged with technology, too. But her tool of choice would have been completely foreign in a classroom a decade ago.

A thick pewter frame, similar to that of eyeglasses, curves around her face, supporting a length of blue plastic and a glass rectangle in front of her right eye. The device, called Google Glass, is said to be the next gotta-have-it piece of technology. It's a tiny, hands-free computer that can surf the Web, email, text, take photos, and shoot and upload video.

"I'm impressed with it. I had a lot of ideas or thoughts of what it might be like, but it's very different," she said.

More than a year ago Potts applied to the Explorer Program through Google, which is for people who essentially beta test Google Glass before it's available to the public. She found out in March that she had been accepted.

The district had to pay about $1,600 for the device, which does not have to be returned to Google. Potts has worn it continuously in the classroom, and its usages have been incredibly diverse.

"Now it's part of the routine. I turn on the computer, get everything set up, and get on the Glass," she said.

The glass screen that hangs partially in front of her eye is transparent, so she can stay engaged with students. Using the side of the blue plastic piece on the right side of her face (the touch pad), she can scroll through a series of what looks like cards on the screen. The cards are her Twitter, email and apps, among other things.

Glass uses voice-recognition software, so she can respond to email and Tweet hands-free. (It uses wireless, or it can draw from Potts' cellphone data. When she's not using it, "it sleeps," and she taps the side to wake it up.)

As students have questions about a topic they're exploring in class, she can be engaging with them and at the same time researching their questions. Within seconds, she can project what she finds through Glass on the Smart Board.

Potts uses Glass' recording function frequently in the classroom. As she walks around the room looking at student projects, for example, she will video record of what she sees and also the conversations she has with the students.

She pieces those video clips together and projects them onto the Smart Board. The whole class can then see a tour or "gallery walk" of everyone's projects through her eyes.

Videotaping the interactions also helps Potts improve as a teacher, she said.

"It's awesome to hear my conversations with the kids," she said. "The opportunity with reflection is really big."

Potts is talking with a teacher using the technology in the Twin Cities about using it synchronously in a Google Hangouts environment, with Potts video streaming what's going on in her classroom into the Twin Cities classroom and vice versa.

At the end of the year, Potts will share with other teachers in the district how she used Google Glass and what she found most useful in classroom usage.

Potts said she plans to keep using the device in her classroom indefinitely. New apps for Glass are popping up frequently, and she's excited about future possibilities with wearable technology.

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