Monday, September 12, 2011

5 Ways to use Google Earth when Teaching (from guest blogger Andrea Ward)

Google has many wonderful tools available to us as teachers.  One of my favorites is Google Earth.  I am going to give you 5 ways to use Google Earth.

1.     Using street view
Warning!  Street view has changed from last year.  The little yellow man icon that has been used on Google Maps is now used for Google maps.  So now instead of clicking on the street view layer, you only need to grab the little man above the zoom bar on the right.  Hover over the street view you would like.  If the streets are outlined in blue, then street view is available.  Drop the little man on the street you would like to see. Click along the yellow line to walk/ drive along the street.

2. Using Layers
There is SO much in the layers I couldn't possibly begin to discuss it all.  The very best thing you could do is play around with it a lot.  Look through the titles of the layers.  To do this you must scroll through the layers and click on the + because there are other layers in that group.  Click on the box beside the ones you find useful and see what you can find.  A few that might be interesting: Ancient Rome 3D, Shipwrecks, Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Weather.  These can be used in History/Social Studies classes, Science classes, and Foreign Language classes.

3. Using Pictures
When you zoom in to particular places, you see icons of a photo.  The blue ones are regular photos that have been uploaded by people all over the world.  I have yet to find an inappropriate one.  However, I have found some that are not in the exact right spot.  They are generally near the right location.  The red photos are 360 panorama photos of a location.  These can be particularly useful when viewing the interior of famous buildings.  It is difficult to find the same photo twice.  The best solution I have found is to double click on the photo.  It will bring up a website.  Save that website to your bookmarks.

4. Using Sightseeing Tour
 A tip I was given recently is the sightseeing tour option.  When the 3D building option is turned on, you can click on the Sightseeing Tour option.  This is listed on the left side under the places option.  When both options are clicked, there are 7 to 10 options.  Some are the Titanic and the Eiffel Tower.  When you click on it, it will fly you to the area.  The 'building' will appear in 3D.  You can then click on the building and get information, photos and related websites.

5. Using the toolbar on top
There are several useful tools at the top of the map screen.  The pushpin icon is a placemark.  You can add a placemark to anywhere on the globe and go back there quickly.  You can add several of them in a city or country and go on a virtual field trip.  The second one is a polygon.  You can add a polygon to highlight a specific area of the earth.  The third is a path.  You can add a path to go from one location to another.  It will show up in Street View and the other layers.  The fourth icon is Image Overlay.  You can put an image on top of the satellite view.  This could be useful when discussing the before and after of a place in history.  The fifth icon is Record a Tour.  When you record a tour, you can automatically go from one location to another without clicking on it.  This could be useful if there are places you visit often in a specific order.  The sixth icon is Historical Imagery.  When you click this a slide bar will show up.  Use this slide bar to move backward and forward in time to see how places change over time.  The seventh icon is to show Sunlight across the Landscape.   This can be moved backward and forward in time.  It is set for 24 hours and the time is the one on your computer.  You can change this in settings.   The eighth icon is Space View.  By clicking this you can go to the moon, the stars, or Mars.  The ninth icon is a Ruler.  You can quickly measure the distance between 2 locations with a variety of measurements.  The tenth icon is Email.  You can mail an image, a placemark folder or other items.  The eleventh icon is Print.  You can print an image, search results, or a placemark.  The twelfth icon is Google Maps.  This will switch your view to Google Maps.

Final tip:  Play around with it.  There are so many items available to you that will enhance your teaching. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Blog post written by Andrea Ward, Spanish teacher at Newton-Conover Middle School and member of NCCS Tech Team

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