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Google Earth Lessons Blog » New Version of Google Earth Expands Multimedia Capabilities!

Google Earth Lessons Blog

An Educational Resource for Teachers

New Version of Google Earth Expands Multimedia Capabilities!

Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 12:33 am on Sunday, September 2, 2007

The latest release of Google Earth is an exciting advancement in the technology! If you haven’t downloaded it yet, go grab the new version. It is well worth it! From the incredible clarity of GigaPixl Photoviewer technology to Google Sky allowing for exploration of the night sky and even a flight simulator mode, there is something for everyone.

One of the most exciting educational advancements, however, is the ability to incorporate Flash and other multimedia content within placemarks.

After learning of the ability to incorporate flash video I got pretty excited, yet the only examples shown were of YouTube videos. YouTube is a nice resource for personal entertainment, but due to it’s open, relatively unfiltered nature, it is not suitable for young eyes and is therefore blocked from many schools. Our entire District network has YouTube and other video sharing sites blocked. What is not blocked though are quality video sites such as UnitedStreaming, the Library of Congress and many other on-line video resources. Therefore I decided to test other multimedia formats and met with good success.

Unfortunately the video ability of Google Earth is limited to computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, not Apple or Linux computers. At least not yet.

After extensive experimenting I was able to get the following multimedia formats to work in Google Earth placemarks: avi, mpg, wmv, mp3, asf and of course, swf. You can download the sample placemark collection here. A tutorial on how to embed the files into placemarks is here.

By using commercially available Flash authoring software like Camtasia Studio, it is now possible to create and display SCORM compliant flash quizzes inside placemarks without sending the student out of the application, allowing for smoother student workflow.

I believe that this new version of Google Earth is truly a turning point in that it allows for even fuller interaction with our amazing planet and the amazing people who live, or have lived on it’s surface.

Next up, I am going off to play with Google SketchUp and Sketchy Physics, a cool new plu-in that allows for objects in SketchUp to move and react to their environment. I’ll keep you posted as time allows…

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