I got so carried away with exploring the new features of Google Earth V5. I forgot to write up how I used Twitter, Google Earth and Google Maps on Monday with a last minute cover class. I think the idea has got great potential.
I was having a discussion with the class about the weather
(it was very snowy in the UK
this week) Many schools were shut in England and there was also heavy snow in Musselburgh, East Lothian.
Some of the children had already been sent home due to poor conditions. The
class were asking what the weather was like in the rest of the UK so I decided
to use Twitter to find out. The
class were fascinated in the idea of Twitter and some of them had heard of it
before as it’s increasingly becoming famous due to advocates like Stephen Fry.
Anyway, I put out the following message to my Twitter network, ‘Talking with class about the weather - what's it like where you are? Tweet location and weather outside your window. We will plot it in GE.’
I carried on chatting to the class then I checked my phone after about five minutes and I couldn’t believe the amount of responses I received. The class were also surprised I had so many friends!
I was so pleased with the responses coming through my twitter network that I put out a separate tweet asking, ‘Thanks for the weather updates any mobile phone twitpics of the weather in your neck of the woods welcome! http://twitpic.com/1as6h’
Again the responses flowed in:
A couple of members of the class armed with my iPhone (there was one moment when I thought I might not get it back!) started to input the data into a Google Maps ’My Map’ custom file. Each tweet location was given a blue flag and the tweeted weather was copied and pasted into the blue flag location bubble.
I added a couple of late tweets
after the lesson but the finished
map looks like this
can view it here. As you can see the weather up-dates thanks to my twitter
followers covered a good spread over the whole of the UK.
As a class we explored the map that we
had created and what the weather was like in different areas of the UK. The class were interested that it didn’t
appear to be snowing in Ireland and it was also quite clear in Ayr,
order to look for reasons for this I exported the Google map file into Google
Earth. (Notice it’s the old version 4 of Google Earth!).
From here I was able to use the
data with the weather layer. We looked at what everyone had to say and
then we looking at a tweet from Simon
Renshaw based in Leicester,
UK, in a bit
more detail. Simon said, ‘It’s [the snow] coming down thick and fast!’
We looked for reasons why Simon had tweeted this within the weather layer of Google Earth. First I turned just the cloud layer on.
Then I turned the radar layer on over the clod layer. Simon's ‘tweet’ was completely covered by cloud and by precipitation.
Next we looked at Ireland in a bit more detail @toddunctious
had sent a tweet saying ‘North Leitrim:
sunny, blue skies, no snow or rain, ground is dry’ again the Google Earth
imagery backed this up.
Next we explored some of the pictures that had been sent. In particular we compared the twitpic from @porchester .....
.....to the picture sent from @neiladam:
The class picked up on the differences in the amount of snow and this generated a great discussion about why it snows less next to the sea? And why it snows more on higher ground.
This was a great off-the-cuff lesson about real, every day geography. But then…aren’t the all the best lessons like this?