Above are the slides from my 2008 Scottish Learning Festival Presentation on Breaking Down Walls with Google Earth many of the ideas I have already shared at Teachmeet07 and Teachmeet08. Screen vasts of the demonstration's are below embedded as Google Video files.
Idea 1 - Use the Google Maps mash-up Smoke Signal Generator (http://www.mapmsg.com/send/smokesignal) as a different way to set learning objectives, homework tasks or to re-cap a lesson.
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. The screencast below shows the demo that I used at tonight.
Idea 2 - Turn on the Grid Lines and spin the globe
This is a very simple, yet powerful and magical idea. 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 this starter activity. Here’s the screencast showing you how to do this:
Idea 3 - Teaching about place and location
Students pick a city name from ‘the hat’ and type the 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:
Idea 4 – Teaching Distance
Google Earth Ruler is really simple to use and allows you to quickly change
between units (cm, m. km, ft. yards etc…) There is a lot 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. For example you can calculate how
far the ingredient of a pizza have travelled before it gets to the UK. Here is the
screencast showing you how the ruler works:
Idea 5 – Sea Level Rise Mash Up
http://flood.firetree.net/ is a favourite Google Maps Mashup of mine. 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.
Idea 6 – Look at what other people have already created
At http://www.gearthhacks.com you can download klm files (Google Earth Files) about Current Events, Previous Events, Sightseeing, Sports, Historical Places, Transport, Natural Formations and a whole heap of other stuff. The Current event files are excellent. The screencast below shows how quickly it is to download a Google Earth file on recent Greece Fires.
Idea 7 – Flickr and Twitter Vision
vision is a another great lesson starter activity or way to promote class
discussion. The site basically shows the geographical location of real time photos
being up-loaded to Flickr. It gives a real feel for what’s going on in the
world and sense of place. It can also be used to promote interesting
discussions. For example, you have to
wait a long to see a photograph being up-loaded from Africa, Antarctica or South America? You can see an example below:
You can even use Flickr Vision in 3D:
Twitter vision gives another interesting perspective. It basically shows text messages of people thoughts from around the world.
Idea 8 – Turn Layers On and Off
things get really crowded and sometimes you want more detail. You can turn
layers on and off using the layers tabs. Fly to New York to see the 3D Buildings in action. If
you are struggling with Bandwidth Issues at school you can save on bandwidth by
turning the layers off.
A great layer below is World Oil Consumption
Idea 9 –Google Earth in the web browser
This video shows Google Earth working inside the web browser. As this becomes more developed it will be great news for schools, as you won’t have to get Google Earth Downloaded onto you school / home computer.
Idea 10 - Monster
Idea 10 - Monster Milk Truck
Monster Milk Truck allows you to drive a virtual milk cart around the globe to explore things. The video shows me driving around and then teleporting to Edinburgh – can you work out which famous building I deliver the milk to?
Idea 11- First
Idea 11- First Person Camera
When you get into some of the cities with 3D buildings, it kind of reminds me of some of the early versions of Doom. Which is interesting as one of the ideas that I have been talking about recently is could Google Earth become in itself a rich gaming environment?
Idea 12 - Driving
Idea 12 - Driving Simulator
The plug in driving simulator is fantastic particularly for some of the big US Cities that have 3D Buildings in them.
Basically, you type in where you want to start and where you want to go to. Google Map directions appear on the left hand side of the screen and calculates your route. A Google Map shows your intended route on the right hand side of the screen and in the middle Google Earth fly’s you though what your route will look like in 3D.
Idea 13 - Google Sky
Google Sky is a great resource for teaching children about the solar system. It has obvious links to A Curriculum for Excellence in particular the outcomes for Science and Social Subjects. A You Tube video about Google Sky is below:
Idea 14 - Have a look at these other great resources
Try and follow these websites for some up-to-date Google Earth information and ideas on how it can be used in Teaching and Learning.
- Google Lat Long Blog
- Google Earth Users Guide Project
- Juicy Geography Google Earth Guide
- Google Earth Blog
- Ogle Earth Blog
- Google Earth Developers Blog
Idea 15 - Book a course
If you want to know more about Google Earth. Why don't you come along to my presentation at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers Annual Conference or book a course with the Royal Geographical Society?