Teaching with Google Earth
Every once in a while a new computer program comes along that can be described as a 'Killer App'. A Killer App is a computer program that changes, in a very fundamental way, how we use computers. Some early Killer Apps included word processors, spreadsheets, e-mail programs and web browsers. It is entirely possible that Google Earth represents the next generation of Killer Apps. Already (at this writing) corporations such as Microsoft are getting ready to roll out their own version of what can be called ‘geo-spatial visualizers’. Early incarnations included programs such as Earth Browser and NASA’s World Wind.
With this new technology come new possibilities, and new potential pitfalls for teachers. In the pages that follow we will look at some of that potential and some of the pitfalls. We hope to provide you, the classroom teacher, with some advanced warning on what can go wrong and some ideas about how you can use Google Earth in your classroom, whether you have one computer or 50.
There are five basic sections.
Section #1 examines some General Considerations you need to take into account that will make your, and your students, experience more productive, educational and enjoyable.
Section #2 focuses on Application Considerations dealing with ways to optimize the experience of using Google Earth for smoother classroom operation.
Section #3 is where we will begin looking at the Teaching Considerations, ways to manage the use of Google Earth and its products.
Section #4 discusses strategies for using Google Earth as an educational tool in various classroom set-ups, from a one computer classroom to a full wireless laptop lab.
And finally, Section #5 will look at possible ways for you to use Google Earth in constructing lessons or guiding student learning.
This examination of Teaching with Google Earth is not intended to be the final word on the topics discussed by any means. We would love to hear from you should you have suggestions, strategies, corrections, clarifications or tips that will improve the quality of information provided here. Our common goals are identical, to be the best teachers we can be and to provide the highest quality of educational experience possible to the children in our care.
Section #1 – General Considerations
Hardware - Synopsis: You need good computers
Bandwidth – Synopsis: You need a robust network
Solutions to Bandwidth Issues – Synopsis: Increase ‘Fly-To’ speed, Build a large Cache
- The 3 'Flavors' of Google Earth - Synopsis: Free, Plus, Pro
- How to purchase Google Earth Plus or Pro for your school - Synopsis: Online
- Installation and Setting Initial Option - Synopsis: Possible problems
- Issues with Layers - Synopsis: Do not turn on too many at a time
- Dealing with the Mystery Mess - Synopsis: Problematic tracking down checkmarks
- Issues with Placemarks - Synopsis: Multiple depths, network links, nasty kids
- Dealing with ads - Synopsis: Teach students not to click on them
Section #3 – Teaching Consideration
Section #4 – Strategies for using Google Earth in Different Classroom
Section #5 – Strategies for incorporating curriculum using Google EarthUnder Development