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Google Earth Lessons Blog » Neat ideas, but so little time…

Google Earth Lessons Blog

An Educational Resource for Teachers

Neat ideas, but so little time…

Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 11:54 pm on Sunday, April 16, 2006

Over the past week or so it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain focused on the site. Part of the reason is because I keep discovering neat things you can do with Google Earth and get all excited about them and forget about the teaching end of things.

For instance, I discovered ‘Screen Overlays’ the other night and it got me thinking about the neat things you could do. A screen overlay lies on top of Google Earth’s main window and doesn’t move. If the image is a gif, then you can have transparency. So, think about it. You could (and I did) make a screen overlay that makes it look like you are looking through a telescope at a particular place on earth. You can make pretty frames for earth, have a cartoon of aliens looking at a place in a TV screen while saying something funny, ‘Earth-Toons’ is the name I coined for that one. You could have flames coming from the bottom of the screen as the placemark takes you to where wild fires are, and on and on. Not being much of a graphic artist kind of limits me on this one, but I will make a Nifty Tricks tutorial about it sooner or later.

Another concept I was playing with was an ‘In Google Earth’ quiz for math (or whatever) where the student makes a placemark at the mathematically derived point in Google Earth, then the teacher can just activate the ‘Answer Key’ placemark and in seconds have a visual representation of how far off the kid’s calculations were.

I also want to build up some libraries for folks to use in building placemarks, things like a ‘Google Earth Screenshots’ library, a colored balloons library, a placemark library by content area, etc. So much that could be done if there was only time…

Yet another one is the concept of ‘Cascading Placemarks’ which I was going to keep to myself since there could be money in it, but it is beyond my time constraints right now to work on, so I will throw it out to the world. It turns out you can link placemarks. For instance you could have in your placemark a hyperlink to another placemark file on a server somewhere. Now if you think about it, the possibilities for Google Logic Games is immense! Imagine a Carmen Sandiego type series of placemarks where the user makes a decision and clicks the link (all within a cool placemark graphics-wise) and goes to another placemark. Ex: Carmen said she needed to get to the highest mountain in the world. You go to the airport. Do you take the flight to Nepal or Alaska? The student follows the trail until time runs out and the last placemark has a screen overlay that say “BOOM!” and covers the whole screen. Stuff like that. The possibilities are endless with this one! That’s why I was losing focus :-)

Not only that, but Summer Vacation is just six week away for us and my wife and I are Europe-bound the day after school lets out, so that plays into it too.

Hopefully you are enjoying the site. Contributions to the effort in the form of lessons, links, ideas, etc are always welcome! I tried to build the site so that as many people as possible could participate, but so far all I hear are crickets, so maybe that is why the focus and motivation thing are starting to kick in too. I am taking the day off tomorrow to head to the beach. It is time for a break.

David

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