Google Earth Lessons Blog

An Educational Resource for Teachers


Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 12:30 pm on Saturday, January 26, 2008

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a day at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), a huge Ed-Tech showcase and conference in Orlando. There was, of course, a great Google Earth workshop!

The workshop, conducted by an energized and entertaining Cindy Lane of Ohio St. Louis, Missouri, was packed!!

There were a few things I got out of the workshop, first and foremost is that there are a lot of teachers out there who love Google Earth and who are dying to learn how to use it across the curriculum. Another was some fun ideas for lessons. Ms. Lane (you can find her wiki here) showed how she used to engage students for a vocabulary lesson among several other ideas. The cross curricular aspect of the far too short (45 minute) workshop was great and the attendees seemed to really gobble it up, several working along on their laptops while Lane demonstrated strategies on the big screen. Not only that, but I learned something! When you use the measuring tool in Google Earth, one of the possible units of measure is a ’smoot’, which I had always just assumed was an inside joke by Google. It turns out that a smoot is actually 5′ 7″!

One disappointment from the conference was the lack of GE representation in the Exhibition hall. Lots of vendors were displaying their ’smart board-esque’ hardware but none were using GE to demonstrate their products. On the bright side, I did find a good book, “Google Earth & GPS Classroom Activities Intermediate Science:Grades 5-8” by Jim Holland and Susan Anderson ($34.95 at although you can probably get a better price on it elsewhere) that is stuffed with some excellent lessons. The book comes with a CD that has the placemark kmz files as well as printables and answer keys. The lessons are well thought out, well annotated and some are just plain clever. For copyright reasons, obviously, the lessons won’t be posted here :-)

Some other fun or useful links I got from the conference include: - The end of the slideshow. Upload pix and it generates a free 30 second, cool video for you or your students.

Ed Uses of Digital Storytelling - A wonderful resource to introduce you and your students to digital storytelling (as opposed to PowerPoint reports). Of course, you can convert the digital stories to flash and have the kids embed them in placemarks too (there’s always a GE angle, call me obsessive :-)

DigiTales - A SUPURB site about digital storytelling with examples and templates and a whole lot more! - Another great digital storytelling site, look at the cookbook especially!

Also, this weekend I am going to try to get around to finally posting a ‘World Wonders’ lesson I have been using with the kids as well as the resource pages from the six hour Advanced Google Earth Workshop I conducted recently.

More later,


Enhanced Placemarks with HTML tutorial

Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 4:12 pm on Saturday, January 5, 2008

Just an FYI about a new tutorial I uploaded this morning: How to create Enhanced Placemarks with HTML. It runs just under 17 minutes and covers a number of ways to fancy up your placemarks with pictures, tables and custom icons using a freeware HTML editor (FreshHTML for Windows). Streaming is here (30Mb) while the .zip is here (30Mb) if you need a file for your LAN or CD distribution.

The World of Learning…

Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 1:48 am on Friday, January 4, 2008

It is amazing to me how much knowledge is available, for free, thanks to this little thing we call the internet. As I was surfing today I stumbled across the National Repository of On-Line Courses (NROC) which contains High School, AP and College Courses for a wide range of topics, including some where students could show proficiency by creating Google Earth enabled content. Along with the neat National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Ocean Explorer site with great multimedia lessons, it boggles the mind how much the world of education has grown beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Toss in the Open Education Resources (OER) Commons,  The Open University, and Universities like MIT providing Open Courseware and it makes me almost wonder if the days of the classroom teacher are numbered. Almost.

What I think it does more is show how when we have students use programs like Google Earth where they can see the world as one big amazing place, all connected by complex webs of communications, transportation and natural systems they might gain a tickle of an understanding of their place in it. As a teacher, my place in it is by guiding them to make the best use of those incredible on-line resources.

It will be interesting to see what amazing new changes 2008 brings.



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