Thursday, August 13, 2009

Google Earth

We all have used Google maps and are aware of its abilities such as viewing roads, 3D buildings, street view cameras, weather and terrain tools. Google Earth's capabilities are far more advanced with tools which will enable Learning Managers to take their students to a world beyond their classroom. As Jon Callow (1999) states, a diversity in images allows us to understand and appreciate various cultures and ideas that we would not necessarily encounter in our own environment.

Google Earth's tools are amazing and could be applied in all KLA's. Learning Managers could engage the students and explore, investigate and compare anywhere on Earth, under the ocean, on the Moon and even Mars. Here are some of the features that I discovered on Google Earth
* Historical Imagery button that allows you to explore and compare how locations have changed over time.
* Earth, Sky, Moon or Mars button which allows you to explore above and beyond Earth.
* Ocean tool that lets you swim and navigate the ocean floor and explore the underwater terrain.
* Touring allows you to record, share and play custom tours that capture your actions and movements.

I used Google Maps last term with my year 7 class as a way to hook them in. It was the beginning of a local Indigenous unit, and I started with a zoom in on their school, I then zoomed out and spanned across(2km) on to the local hospital and zoomed into a clearing in the forest next to the helicopter pad. There in the clearing is the Indigenous 'Noosa sacred serpent'. I then showed them the photo of the sacred sight in their backyards, to say they were surprised was an understatement.

Google Earth will engage the students and allow them to discover and explore the world and beyond. It is an essential tool for all Learning Managers.

Callow, J. (1999) Image matters: Visual texts in the classroom. Primary english teaching association: Erskinewille, NSW.

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