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 geogreeting.com 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 Amazon.com 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:
Animoto.com - 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!
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.