Google Earth

During our time “flying” around the world with our Navigator, Jeremy, our group found many useful ways to integrate Google Earth into the classroom.  The group consisted of Megan, Jeremy, and Craig so we were able to get the input of both Social Studies and English pre-service teachers. 


Jeremy showed us some of the Google Earth basics such as tagging, looking up places, zooming in, flying, and finding distances.  Below is a video of our group finding the distance between two places.  This could be useful when discussing places that are in some way tied together.  For instance, when discussing different battle fields a student could look up how far the soldiers actually had to walk to get to the next battle which would bring the soldiers more to life.

Ok, I cannot get the video to embed so you can just click on the link.  Sorry!


We also explored how Google Earth can be used to follow the life of historic people.  We followed the life of Virgil through Europe.  Google Earth showed his travels and at each location provided information on him.  This is a great way to get students interested and drawn into learning about a historic person that seems so far removed from them.


Finally, we also were able to explore the word “genocide” in Google Earth.  When typing genocide in the search box we were immediately taken to Rwanda.  There we could click on several informational boxes that explained more about the genocide tha took place.  We thought it would be a great way for students to get more familar with material or to introduce the material before teaching it either in history or a book discussing genocides.  Students could also add the material they learn to it and tag the different areas.


This video is our group looking into Darfur to see what Google Earth had about the genocide there:


Hope you enjoy- Craig, Jeremy, Megan



MaryBeth and Stephanie’s attempt at Glogster

John, Chris and Heath on Google Earth

Hello, the following is a blog post by John, Chris and Heath detailing our journey last Friday on Google Earth.  In this blog we will present to you several videos of things we did in class with short discriptions before the videos explaining what we were doing and what potential value we see in what we did for our classroom.


The first thing we went to when we started up Google earth was the white house, as it is a very famous address.  While looking at the White House I remembered hearing that there is a lot of symbolism that goes into where many of the buildings and memorials in Washington are located.  Google Earth could be a good way to show students this symbolism.


We went to the Parthenon next.  Going to these locations would allow students to get a visual “feel” for some of the people and areas we study in history.  You will also see many photos that could supplement the view from Google earth and the program may also have some helpful articles as well.


This is a video of Google earth’s Sky-view program.  We could use this to help students relate to time periods when astronomy was essential for navigation and architecture; possibly allowing students to look at sky view and think about how they could create knowledge from this information just as many ancient societies did.


Video6-                                This is a video of us looking at Mount Fuji.  In the classroom, we could use Google earth to give students some perspective on the scale of geographic features.  Once again, one of the benefits of Google earth is that it not only gives us a satellite image but also links that image to other kinds of visuals that can give more perspectives on a location.  We could also use this search for Mount Fuji to help the students have a sense of perspective on connection the mountain has with locals.


Christ the Redeemer.  This is an effective tool to discuss religion in different countries and how devout certain societies may be.  Also, the location of the statue in comparison to the city below shows how they view their god.



This represents a very different use of Google Earth in the classroom.  This short video shows Heath looking at a tag he made on War Memorial Hall.  We could have students tag locations to give them a sense of perspective.  We could also use the tagging of Google Earth to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning within a community that reaches beyond the school.


This is an example of an application that can be used to enhance Google Earth.  This was a virtual tour of Drake’s journeys that could be used to guide student learning through Google Earth; it was easily downloaded from a Google community cite that holds many such files for various subjects.


This video shows a couple of things.  First, we found the Titanic and thought that we might be able to use this to give the students some perspective of how the passengers on the Titanic must have felt, sinking so far away from land.  This is also an example of how easy it would be for students to get distracted using this program.  Finding the Titanic was not one of our original objectives.  Still, this also demonstrates that even when students get distracted, there may still be learning opportunities, as we ultimately got something out of this distraction.


In this video, John talks about a challenge card that we got from Dr. Hicks to help guide our search on Google Earth.  We believe that these challenges would be a good way to scaffold our students’ use of this program.  As we’ve noted before, it would be easy for students to get distracted and these challenges could point students towards productive ways to use Google Earth.


This is a video of us looking at Teinamin Square following a challenge card that asked us to look for signs of civil protest.  This is an example of a challenge that we could use to add a geographic element to a study of civil protest.  We could also ask students to look for differing views on civil protest in the links people have left in Google Earth.  We didn’t get this on video, but at one point Heath told John that we probably wouldn’t find anything controversial on China because of China’s censorship; it would be important to ask students to consider why certain ideas or points of view would be more or less likely to show up on Google Earth.


This is another video of us looking for signs of civil protest/activism


Another example of guided research within Google earth.  What we really liked about this video was that it showed us thinking critically about where to look for links with genocide.  We believe that this video demonstrates the potential for student use of technologies like Google Earth to promote critical thinking.  One interesting thing about this video is that we instantly focused in on Germany and Africa- after the research we could ask students to reflect on why looked in the places that they did, promoting self reflection and meta-cognition.


This video deals with various problems we will have to deal with when using technology in our classrooms.


We see many potential uses for Google Earth in our classrooms.  The program can be used to help give our students a visual and geographical perspective and also give them insight into the lives of others.  We could also use this program to allow students to demonstrate what they have learned.  Scaffolding will certainly be important when introducing students to Google Earth, perhaps by using challenge cards like the ones we used in the videos.   Google Earth investigations also give us an opertunity to develope students’ critical thinking and meta-cognition.  Of course, we will always have to plan to deal with some setbacks and limitations when using technology.

John, Chris and Heath

Day One Pencast

Eager for our first class…

Where this class is still an “experiment” of sorts (seeing what kinds of things we might learn together when we blur disciplinary boundaries and play creatively with emerging tools, what it means to teach and learn within our classrooms, etc.), I look to our first meeting with a bit of “giddiness.”  As we’ll all come to know, I have a bit of a fascination with new literacies practices and emerging technologies.  But, bigger than that, I’m captivated by how teachers and students come together to co-construct what it can mean to teach and learn in classrooms that see new possibilities given what it means to engage in a digital world.

This course is about opportunities – not about what you do and don’t know about where to point and click. The big idea is that there are MANY paths to the same destination – and our time together is about exploring the paths that are opening (and doing so at an astonishing, some say “exciting,” rate). When it feels like too much, that is completely okay. Keep yourself rooted in the big idea of the course – that one medium is not the ONLY way forward. Student can show us how smart they are in many different ways. This course is about exploring the opportunities we now have for opening up learning (and content) in new ways so that students become self-directed, engaged thinkers, communicators, and learners. Explore. Play. Think. And, then play some more… It is not about the tools. It is about what’s possible.