What a wonderful vacation!!!
Europe (Germany & Austria) was spectacular! Whenever I travel there I always come back appreciating the depth of the culture and history that is so well preserved, and this trip I got a wonderful sense of how well the Europeans have managed their environment along with their cultural history. With a human history that stretches back tens of thousands of years, the place is remarkably well kept! Densly populated, but with wonderful natural areas, the Germans have incorporated a love of natural places with a governmental system that espouses environmentally sensitive development. The major metropolitan areas are not like in the US with vast expanses of concrete, but discrete urban areas surrounded by garden like rural areas. It was so refreshing!!
But now I am back and am a bit listless. While I was away, the US Techno world rolled on at its frantic pace, replacing Google Earth, SketchUp and even Picassa with new versions. The changes are subtle, yet profound. With the new releases the uses of Google Earth have grown tenfold! Not only does GE allow textures in models (there is sooo much your students can learn from this alone!!!) but there are new layer options and Mac and Linux versions as well, which opens up this fantastic tool to even more students! The Picassa Beta also allows for Geotagging of photos, meaning that you can attach a GE location to pictures (for those of you doing ‘How I spent My Summer Vacation’ activities at the beginning of the next school year, HEADS UP!!).
So, more lessons are possible, more possibilities are lessons and there is even mooore work to do around here!!! The never ending world of Instructional Technology rolls on, even on vacation…