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Google Earth Lessons Blog » 2006 » September

Google Earth Lessons Blog

An Educational Resource for Teachers

Coming of age…

Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 2:20 am on Sunday, September 17, 2006

My apologies for being a bit negligent in keeping the site up to date. Life sometimes takes over and time becomes a commodity in short supply. Things are still very busy, but I hope to be able to dedicate more time to the work here. Part of the problem is that the IT heads in our school district have cut off all access to the Google Earth servers because of bandwidth concerns although I am in the process of lobbying for a change in the policy due to the phenomenal potential of Google Earth as an instructional tool. A tool that in the last few days has increased in value.

If you haven’t heard yet, Google Earth has a new updated Beta version which moves the application into a whole new realm of potential. There are two HUGE new features from an educational standpoint. Time and WMS…

The newest version of Google Earth has the ability to display placemarks which are time stamped, thereby adding the fourth dimension to its instructional capabilities. Imagine being able to show the voyages of Magellan, the growth of the Roman Empire, the spread of Bird Flu or any number of other content topics on a sliding, animated time line! The potential for teachers to be able to allow students to visualize, create or experience time related subjects anywhere on earth is amazing! I haven’t had much of an opportunity to tinker with it, but the potential is there waiting to be exploited by creative, clever educators. (To see a time-enabled placemark collection, click here)

At this point, from what I have been able to deduce, the only way to incorporate time is by editing the KML file directly which puts it outside the bounds of the non-techno teachers. Perhaps we will see a graphic way to include the time aspect with the next release.

The second biggie is the incorporation of WMS. If you don’t know what WMS is, WMS stands for Web Mapping Service. In the new version you can zoom in to your area of interest and create an overlay using a wide range of data quickly and easily. Essentially what the new version does is it goes out and queries a WMS and pulls in the appropirate map. Included are a couple dozen WMS’s to choose from. The one I tested the process with added a colorful area map with roads and other information. With time and experience I am certain that we will find that massive amounts of data sets are available quickly and easily, but it will take some extensive cataloging of the services available before the average classroom teacher can do a quick lesson development.

The new release just reinforces my view that Google Earth is perhaps the most significant educational software tool to come along since the Word Processer.

Be patient, stay tuned, and go play with the new version of Google Earth. You won’t be disappointed!

David

 

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