I have had a lot of emails asking me to share some of the information from Teachmeet07. This has been one of my back list of posts to complete for a while now. Last night I up-loaded all of the screen captures (I used Bulents Screen Recorder) to Google Video, so this is what I covered during my presentation titled ‘7 minutes of ideas for using Google Earth in the Classroom’.
I started off by explaining that one of my themes for the last year has been keeping things simple and that small ideas change things. I also stated that anyone can use Google Earth, and illustrated it with is example:
My next idea uses a Google Maps mash-up Smoke Signal Generator (http://www.mapmsg.com/send/smokesignal). You can use the mash-up in exactly the same way as you normally use Google Maps to find places by typing in the location. You can zoom in and zoom out in exactly the same way and switch between map, hybrid and satellite view. The mash-up however allows you to generate smoke signals from any location within Google Maps. My suggestion was that this could be a fun little starter activity or a different way of trying to set or re-cap lesson objectives. The screencast below shows the demo that I used at Teachmeet:
My next example is the simplest example of them all. I believe that children find maps, globes and places fascinating. A great lesson starter is just to have Google Earth Spinning as your class comes into the room (they will instantly start to comment and try to work out where places are). You can also very easily turn on the Grid Latitude and Longitude lines to allow you to quickly add an extra dimension to your simple starter. Here’s the screencast showing you how to do this:
Next a quick idea for teaching about European cities. At the front of your classroom have a bucket of European or world city names. You can get lists from websites like www.citymayors.com. The activity is as follows, pupil picks city name from ‘the hat’ types location into Google Earth – class watch as they fly from their school to the city location. Once in the city Student gets one or two minutes to explore in front of the rest of the class. As long as you have websites like Panoramio enabled within Google Earth there will be no shortage of things to look at and you will quickly get a real feel for what an area is like. I think it is very important to always flay to your location from your school, this adds to the experience of distance, place and space. Here’s a quick screencast showing what I mean:
Next we took a quick look at measuring distances in Google
Earth. The screencast below will show you how to do this. Its really simple and
the Google Earth ruler allows you to quickly change between units cm, m. km,
ft. yards etc… here is lots of scope here about to talk about measurement and
also ratios if you start to swap the units around. You can also use the ruler
to perform interesting tasks Doug
once told me about a activity that involved tracking the ingredients of a Pizza. Apparently it had travelled 800, 000 miles! Heresy the screencast showing you how the ruler works:
Next we moved onto an old favourite of mine a Google Maps Mashup called http://flood.firetree.net/ it allows you to change the sea level height to see areas of land that would be flooded due to sea level change. Its simple but really effective, interestingly it wouldn’t take much for the Glasgow Science Centre to be underwater.
The final website we looked at was http://www.gearthhacks.com from here you can download klm files about Current Events, Previous Events, Sightseeing, Sports, Historical Places, Transport, Natural Formations and a whole heap of other stuff. I used it to quickly download a file on recent Greece Fires to show how easy it is to incorporate simple Google Earth files into lesson or lesson starters.
I finished up by
telling everyone about the Free
Google Earth Courses for Educators that are being run by the Royal
Geographical Society over the next few months. We are hosting the Edinburgh one in East Lothian