On Thursday at BETT 2010 I presented two Teachmeet Takeover sessions. One of the sessions was on the use of Google Maps and Google Earth in the classroom.
I've shared all of these ideas on the site before and the session was basically a re-run of my Teachmeet North East London Mininote from last April.
I've listed the ideas with links below. But you might also want to watch the video from Teachmeet NE London that was produced by Leon Cych (Learn4Life) and funded by Futurelab as part of the Teachmeet Talk series.
So the ideas covered were:
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. Great for linking place to learning objectives.
You can use geo-greatings in lots of different ways but as well as being a fun way to send messages to the class. You can also do other activities like, get children to spell out their names and then work out which country their buildings are in (good for teaching atlas skills), they can also measure the distances between their buildings, reserch the buildings, try and find other letter shaped building.... the list goes on and on...
Idea 3 - 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.
Idea 4 - 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.
I've repeated this activity with loads of things such as cities, buildings, mountains, landmarks, rivers etc...
Idea 5 – Teaching Distance
The 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.
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 7 – 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 8 – 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?
Twitter vision gives another interesting perspective. It basically shows text messages of people thoughts from around the world.
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.
Idea 10 - Explore the Historic Imagery layer
The Google Earth Historic imagery layer allows you to compare up-to-date satalite imagery with older satellite imagery. In the video I look at the construction of the Birdsnest Stadium in China from 2002 to 2008. Its very impressive stuff!
Idea 11 –Google Earth in the web browser
Download the Google Earth API to get Google Earth working right in your web browser.
Idea 12 - Monster Milk Truck
Monster Milk Truck allows you to drive a virtual milk cart around the globe to explore things.
Idea 13- 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 14 - Driving Simulator
The plug in driving simulator is fantastic particularly for 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 flies you though what your route will look like in 3D.
Idea 15 - Create Powerful Google Earth Posters
Full write up on this activity here.
Idea 16 - 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
Thanks to my pal and 'Whiteboard Jedi' Danny Nicholson for most of the photos.