Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why You Should Be Doing More with Google Earth

Google Earth can be used in infinite ways at all grade levels across all content areas. Chances are you are under-utilizing this amazing resource. I recommend that all teachers, regardless of subject area or grade level, spend 5 to 10 minutes each day using Google Earth for a daily geography lesson. It's hard for children (and adults for that matter) to develop a sense of where they are in the world. Google Earth can help them do that. I've done several Google Earth model lessons in classrooms recently. Each time, students are wowed and fully engaged. And each time, it's obvious that students lack an awareness of where they are in the world and knowledge of geography terms.

You don't need a teacher's manual or curriculum guide to teach with Google Earth. Simply look for ways to incorporate Google Earth into topics you're already exploring with your students. Visit the location of a current event. Explore the setting of a historical fiction text. Calculate the distance between locations. Use historical imagery to go back in time to a significant historical event. Locate the birthplace of a famous historical person. Take a virtual trip before you go on a field trip. Explore constellations, the Moon, and Mars. Use the weather layer to explore and predict weather patterns.

Imagine what could happen if you devote 5 to 10 minutes each day to exploring the world in Google Earth. Daily exposure to and work in Google Earth can help us raise a generation of learners with a global perspective.

Check out these resources to learn more about integrating Google Earth into daily teaching and learning in your classroom:

Directions for creating a Google Earth trip in Google Maps

Google Earth Across the Curriculum from Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne,

Google Lit Trips (virtual trips of settings of great works of literature)

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