Google Earth Lessons Blog

An Educational Resource for Teachers


Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 4:04 pm on Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sorry about being so MIA lately!

Some of the things I have been working on but haven’t figured out or written up include:

• A synthesis of an idea I found over at the ISTE site where students chat ‘directions’ to another class on how to construct a shape. This builds math vocabulary, critical thinking, keyboarding and collaboration skills all at once. This one is pretty cool! What you do is either set up a chat server or install a LAN chat client (Tonic is currently my Windows Only Fave, but it doesn’t allow chat tracking from a central administration point, thereby bringing up cyber-bully type issues), so what you do is have students either use Google Earth or Google SketchUp and chat the directions to other kids. In my lab what we are going to do is the kids will use Google Earth, find a location and then give directions to a place somewhere else, for instance from the Courthouse to the Science Museum, by giving directions (go North 3 blocks, turn west, go 250 feet, ….) to a kid on the other side of the lab. Should be neat when I get the bugs worked out. With SketchUp what they would do is construct a shape and then chat the directions on how to build a duplicate with proper measurements to the other kids. The cool thing about Tonic is that you can attach files, so the kids can check each other’s work!
• Something that I have been puzzling over for months! How to use all the abilities of Google Earth, with time stamps, flash, etc. to create a ‘Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego’ placemark game to teach world geography (with Google Sky it could even be a ‘Where in the Universe’ game too!). I know that starting with a flowchart is the way to go, but there has to be a relatively easy, low-tech way of building the game. It would be perfect for high-tech network links and PHP (way complicated for the average person) type stuff, but my goal is to make a lesson template that any teacher can construct in an hour or less, allowing quick, easy curricular customization. It’s not going so well…
• Richard Treves had a neat idea for linked PodCasting Placemarks to create a tour, but the site he uses to create the flash based audio is commercial (15 minutes free space) so I was thinking there has to be a way a teacher can just record themselves and then toss the audio files wherever they need them, like a hard drive, USB drive, whatever, but I keep getting stuck on how to change an Audacity MP3 into a playback controlled flash file. When I figure it out to the point where the steps are super simple I will crank out a tutorial.
• Another thing that has been bugging me lately is why I am only yakking about Google Earth? Google Maps can do a lot of the same stuff and it runs pretty much on any computer without having to install special software or get the IT people fussy with you. Therefore I have made a command decision to start tossing Google Maps lessons I stumble across on here too. How’s this one for starters (courtesy of GoogleLatLong )? GoogleLitTrips, except with maps instead of earth… Tom Woodward’s neat lesson or Dale Basler’s physics lesson (that guy deserves an award! He has a great Blog!)
• I swear my to-do list is getting too darn long! There are such neat educational opportunities using Google SketchUp, Google Sky, the time slider, the new Weather layers, it is practically endless, and here I am running four clubs at the school on top of teaching 900+ kids and trying to keep my wife from feeling too neglected.. Oh well, I guess sometimes negligence is bliss :-)

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the ol’ US of A!


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