It is close to the end of summer in the northern hemisphere. Many kids are heading back to school after a summer break. For those of you who are educators and have thought, or heard, that Google Earth would make a good tool for geography lessons – let me suggest you look closer. Google Earth (GE) is not only a great tool for geography – it is a tool for tying all kinds of information to location. When you first load GE you have a wealth of information available at your fingertips. Thousands of aerial and satellite photos, dozens of layers of information: city names, country borders, airport locations, road maps, National Geographic content, volcanoes, and more. Since Google Earth is an intuitive and fun tool, I believe you could use it as a visualization and educational tool for almost any subject. Once students prepare their own content, GE can be used to present their work – or even share their work with the world.
Below you will find a sample of possible useful content for Google Earth in a variety of subjects such as geography, literature, science, history, and more. Basically, any information which can be tied to a location on Earth can be illustrated, and made interesting, using GE. Juicy Geography is a web site, by Noel Jenkins in the UK, designed to help teachers learn more about tools like GE for the classroom and suggests possible lessons. Also, check out a summary of educational uses for Google Maps by GoogleMapsMania.
Google Earth is a powerful visual tool for visualizing and presenting information tied to location. It can also be used as a tool for students to study or even prepare their own presentations. If I were an educator I would use it for many topics. You can use the “Search” or “Categories” on Google Earth Blog to find more information. Or, you can go to the Google Earth Community to look for materials as well. Here are just a sample of some of the material available organized by subject:
- Places quoted in Shakespeare
- Travels of Odysseus
- Around the World in 80 Days
- Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
- Astronomy: Meteor Craters, Solar Eclipses, Ice Flows, global temperatures
- Geology: lava flows, volcanoes, earthquakes
- Biology: Avian Flu, Chimpanzees, Ants
- Environment: Glacier melt, satellite data
- Weather: Weather tools, lightning data from NASA, more weather stories
- Lewis and Clark Expidition
- Shackleton Expedition
- Six Wives of Henry VIII
- 1906 San Francisco Earthquake