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Google Earth Lessons Blog » 2006 » March

Google Earth Lessons Blog

An Educational Resource for Teachers

Goals…

Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 11:46 pm on Sunday, March 26, 2006

I received a nice note the other day from Richard Treves, author and producer of a wonderful series of videos about how to use Google Earth which you can find linked from the lessons page. As we emailed back and forth, he said something that got me thinking. He said ‘depending on what your goal for the site is..’

What are the goals for the site and for the lessons? Well, in responding to his question it forced me to think about what it was that I wanted to accomplish with the site and with the lessons in particular.

How I answered him is this way:

My goals are -
1. Reduce teacher workload by providing complete lessons which can be used at a moments notice. K-12 Teachers here in the US, and elsewhere I am sure, are under intense time pressures and if I can provide them with a bit of respite without them having to worry about finding funding, then I am glad to help, and if others wish to help, all the better!

2. Use Google Earth as a platform for encouraging K-12 (ages 5 - 18) teachers to ‘think outside the box’. Here in the US there is a distressing trend, spurred in large part by NCLB (the No Child Left Behind Act of Congress) and neo-conservative, non-educational community factions to formulize education in what many, myself included, see as an advance move to privitize public education, essentially turning education into an industrial production line commercial enterprise focused on profit, a way to siphon off the billions of public monies spent on education. K-12 Teachers are spending an increasing amount of time here ‘teaching to the test’, an annual, standarized, high stakes exam, rather than sharing with students the wealth and diversity of knowledge, the beauty of art, the wonder of science, the tools for innovative thinking. Google Earth can offer teachers a way to address the National or State Standards mandated by the law while at the same time addressing the richness of the human experience.

3. Engage K-12 students in the learning process through the use of creative applications of technology while at the same time exposing them to the interconnectedness of the artificially seperated subject areas. Being an expert in Geography I am sure you see how your field is intimately tied to everything from MicroBiology to Anthropology to Sculpture to Literature to Music to Calculus, etc. Students (in general) love: a. Working on computers, b. Expressing themselves creatively, c. Feeling like they are the center of the universe. Google Earth, used creatively, allows them to do all three.

I will not apologize for being a bit political in this blog, but this blog is where I intend to isolate the politics of education. As I wrote to Richard it made me realize that not all teachers around the world are facing the same challenges as the teachers here in the US. Yes, many are the same challenges we all face which is why, I suppose, we chose to become teachers, but NCLB poses some special challenges.

It was an hour after I sent the email that I checked the news headlines at The New York Times website, and there, as the main headline was the story entitled: Schools Cut Back Subjects to Push Reading and Math

That is what GELessons is about. It is about broadening, not inhibiting, the curriculum. It is about tying as much together as possible so that the adults of tomorrow aren’t short changed by a narrow focus today.

So, for the teachers who are joining me from around the world, I hope you enjoy the lessons and those of you who teach in the US, I hope you join me in working to broaden the minds of our children beyond the narrow focus of the high stakes tests.

David

 

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