About Google Earth. A Great Way to Engage and Inspire Students

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1 About Google Earth A Great Way to Engage and Inspire Students Google Earth is an amazing tool that will keep your learners interested and engaged in learning! You can use it across the curriculum. 1

2 Scenario Jason is studying the Franklin Expedition in his history class. He learns a great deal about the Northwest Passage and the route that Franklin attempted. On May 19, 1845, 129 men and officers aboard the HMS Terror and the HMS Erebus under the command of Sir John Franklin and set sail to explore the Northwest Passage. The ship was well stocked with food, clothing, tobacco and liquor. The expedition was to last three years, and the men were commissioned to find a safe and reliable route from Europe to the Orient. After 18 months at sea, the men disappeared. Jason decides to map out the route that Franklin takes in Google Earth and uses this as part of his presentation on the Franklin Expedition. Jason s presentation engages his fellow classmates and impresses his teacher. What is it? Google Earth is a free, downloadable program that works as a browser for all sorts of information on Earth. It uses satellite imagery to grab, spin, pan, tilt and zoom down to any place on Earth. Students can explore every corner of the globe, measure distances, create their own virtual tours, and share their tours with others. Although the options within Google Earth are endless, here are a few things you can do: Discover the Earth: Fly to any location in the world, learn about a city, find local businesses and create tours. Explore the Sky: Enjoy the wonders of the heavens and learn about our solar system. Dive in the Ocean: Go beneath the surface and visit the depths of the ocean and explore the planet's deepest underwater canyons. Learn about ocean observations, climate change, and endangered species. You can even discover new places to surf, dive and fish. Walk on the Moon: Take tours of landing sites narrated by Apollo astronauts and view 3D models of landed spacecraft. Visit Mars: Travel the Red Planet and explore NASA's latest imagery of our galactic neighbor. 2

3 Who is using it? Google Earth is used by teachers, students, mining companies, architects, geologists, scientists, etc. Teachers use Google Earth to help students understand subjects ranging from sciences to liberal arts. Geologists can take students virtually to an area being studied and show them the topography and surrounding areas, quickly zooming in and out. Other scientists overlay images of subject material, such as layers of rock, relating the material to images of the real world. Liberal arts faculty show locations of current events and link to resources about those events, or give tours of historical locations. How does it work? Google Earth can be downloaded and installed for free. Users fly to locations around the world by entering addresses, names of landmarks or features, or latitude and longitude coordinates. Users can also search within an area using a key word. For example, you could search for pizza in Edmonton and see on an interactive map all the locations that sell pizza. Zooming in and out determines the number and kind of features or locations displayed as the resolution changes. As you zoom closer to a residential area, for instance, smaller streets and their names begin to appear. Users can look at the ground in street level view. This means that you can actually view the houses and landmarks in full view. Locations on the map are clickable, opening a pop-up window with information about that place, links to related resources, photos, or other information. 3

4 Why is Google Earth so great to use in the classroom? With Google Earth, schools can expose their learners to the world beyond their school and community. Being able to fly students from the deserts of Africa to the CN Tower to the Antarctica can bring a wide range of subject matter alive. Learners can use Google Earth to investigate places they are studying. Because it is interactive, the application encourages users to keep using it to fly to new places or places they used to live or hope to visit one day. Google Earth lets users create and share personal resources. What are the downsides? Because Google Earth displays images based on satellite data, users see a snapshot in time. If a building is added to the landscape or torn down those changes won t immediately be reflected in the program. Also, satellite imagery is not available at the same resolution for all locations. For some cities, you can zoom in close enough to see people walking on sidewalks; for other places, the resolution might only show buildings or blurry cars. Higher-resolution imagery is often available in larger cities. Small communities in the NWT do not have high resolution or street level view. How do I learn more about Google Earth? Educators have started a number of blogs, user groups and forums where they share ideas and experiences using Google Earth in the classroom, as well as post lesson plans and activities they have created. Check out some of these websites and blogs for more information: Google for Educators Google Earth for Educators: 50 Exciting Ideas for the Classroom How to Teach with Google Earth The Best Resources for Google Earth Beginners Like Me 4

5 Ten Easy Things You Can Do in Google Earth Want to jump in and start having fun with Google Earth? Try any of the following: 1. View an image of your school, home, or any place on Earth Click Fly To. Enter the location in the input box and click the Search button. In the search results (Places panel), double click the location. Google Earth flies you to this location. 2. Go on a tour of the world In the Places panel, check the Sightseeing folder and click the Play Tour button. 3. Get driving directions See Getting Directions and Touring the Route and then fly from one place to another. 4. View other cool locations and features created by other Google Earth users In the Layers panel, check Community Showcase under Google Earth Community. Interesting placemarks and other features appear in the 3D viewer. Double click these points of interest to view and explore. 5. View 3D terrain of a place This is more fun with hilly or mountainous terrain, such as the Grand Canyon. Go to a location. When the view shows the location, use the zoom slider to tilt the terrain. 6. View 3D buildings This works best in a big city, such as Toronto or Vancouver. Travel to a city and in the Layers panel, select 3D Buildings. 7. View weather information Google Earth contains an entire layer of upto-date weather information. You can view the current weather conditions for your community. To view weather activity, go to a location and then in the Layers panel, select Weather. 8. View historical maps Google Earth includes an amazing collection of historical maps from the David Rumsey Collection. To view these incredible maps, in the Layers panel, select Rumsey Historical Maps under Gallery. 5

6 More Things you can do on Google Earth! Google Ocean Google Ocean, an extension of Google Earth, allows web users to virtually explore the ocean with thousands of images of underwater landscapes. It lets users swim around underwater volcanoes, watch videos about exotic marine life, read about nearby shipwrecks. People can watch unseen footage of historic ocean expeditions. Google Moon Check out what you can do in Google Moon. You can Tour lunar landing sites, narrated by Apollo astronauts View 3D models of rovers and landers View 360 degree photo panoramas Watch rare TV footage of the Apollo missions Google Sky With Earth s new Sky feature, you can: Browse around and zoom in to distant galaxies View constellations and the movements of the planets Hear astronomy podcasts and read celestial research from expert sources Create and share your own imagery, placemarks and more 6

7 Google Mars With Google Mars, you can: View images downloaded by NASA just hours ago, in the Live from Mars layer. Take an interactive tour of Mars, narrated by Public Radio's Ira Flatow or Bill Nye the Science Guy. View 3D rover models and follow their tracks to see high-resolution 360-degree panoramas. Search for famous Martian landmarks, such as the Face on Mars or Olympus Mons. Beginner Tutorials Got to Google Earth Beginner Tutorials at for beginner tutorials on the following topics: Navigation Trees Historical Imagery Searching for Places Drawing and Measuring Placemarks and Tours Mars, Moon and Sky 7

8 Check out the NWT Literacy Council s website under Digital Literacy for more information on using technology in the classroom. You will find: More information on Google Earth Digital Storytelling Making and Using Videos in the Classroom Podcasts, Vlogs and More Blogs Example Videos Acknowledgements The NWT Literacy Council gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance for this project from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, GNWT. Resources for this booklet: 7 things you should know about Google Earth by Educasue Learning Initiative 10 Cool and Easy Things You Can Do in Google Earth, Google for Educators, NWT Literacy Council Box 761, Yellowknife, NT X1A 2N6 Phone toll free: Phone Yellowknife: (867) Fax: (867) Website: 8

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