Taking Google Earth to school

Some high schools in Israel are adding Google Earth to their geography exams. Not only will students be allowed to use it instead of a traditional atlas, but parts of the exam will require the use of Earth to successfully complete the test.

According to the head of the Education Ministry Supervisors Department, Dalia Fanning, “Incorporating Google Earth in the final allows students to use interactive maps, observe geological layers and computer animation. It allows students to ‘fly’ over the area and ‘land’ according to the test’s requirements.”

I’ve not been able to find much information outside of this single article, but it’s certainly interesting. What do you think? Is it a valuable step forward to help students learn to use software such as Google Earth? Or should testing force them to use a standard atlas in order to better grasp the basic concepts?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. To work with a standard atlas or map is definetly important. But geography is not only reading and interpreting maps, but also understanding the world as a globe. There is no better way to understand global relations than having “hands on” the globe – and that is what Google Earth is built for.
    So in my oppinion students need both – an atlas or a map AND Google Earht.

  2. I think that GE is an etremely valuable tool to use in school.
    I use it for science lessons, you can clearly see, for instance, Mid-ocean ridges and many other interesting phenomena.
    I also used it as a means to give value to the work the students made using sketchup: I let the kids drive the cars they’ve drawn, inside GE.
    (Gooogle Earth Blog made a post about this sometime ago).

  3. I forgot to say that the work with sketchup was part of a work in math about solids and polyhedrons.
    Here are some examples of what they’ve drawn:


  4. I’m an instructional tech specialist at a middle school in Newton, and am really happy about how much our social studies teachers have embraced and
    started to “own” Google Earth. One of the teachers did experiment with a GE-based test, and it went quite well. Students were asked to identify specific placemarks and also respond to more evaluative questions using placemarks.

  5. GE is obviously of enormous use in educational settings and I’ve advocated its use on my blog for a long while. I would sound a note of caution re exams though, moving in 3D space is necessarily complex so you could have students struggling with the controls which is nothing to do with testing geographical knowledge. Also, without customising the imagery cache multiple copies of GE operating at the same time are capable of overloading school networks. Capturing screen shots or using film clips taken of GE would be a good solution to this issue.

  6. In China,there are many teachers using it on classes.I do not think it is surprised.

  7. Google Earth is just amazing! Talk about cataloging at a global level!

  8. SocialTeacher says:

    I teach social studies at the elementary school level and wanted to use Google Earth in the classroom, but the level of the information was too complex for the students. Then I found a product called Stratalogica from Nystrom, which has historically made classroom maps. It is absolutely amazing! It blends the grade-level information with Google Earth so you get everything! http://www.stratalogica.com

  9. simon shields says:

    My google earth 5 running on windows XT fails to access google’s server kh.google.com:80 yet I can access the ip address If anyone has any idea why this is occurring or how I can fix the problem, it would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Great idea – as it so happens I am also planning on using this both in my geography lessons and in exams where students will be required to plot key historical events.

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