TeachersFirst Edge - Geo/Mapping

 

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Google Earth in the Classroom - Joe Wood

Grades
K to 12
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This teacher-created wiki supplements it with Google Earth Resources galore. Find links...more
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This teacher-created wiki supplements it with Google Earth Resources galore. Find links to lesson plans and files for using Google Earth in your classroom for many subjects. See a tutorial video on Google Earth, find directions for making files, and more. Ideas for using Google Earth by subject even include links to ready-made files so you need not start out by creating from scratch. See what other teachers have done and let it inspire you and your students to do more. Learn how to make kmz (placemarker) files.

tag(s): globe (14), landforms (45), landmarks (26), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Make this site part of your personal professional development or pair up with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Share the link with your students, as well, so your class can become GE experts together. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teacher to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
 
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Google Earth 101 for Educators - Quentin D'Souza, Teaching Hacks.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This participatory wiki (part of the larger "Teaching Hacks" wiki) walks educators step...more
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This participatory wiki (part of the larger "Teaching Hacks" wiki) walks educators step by step through the how-to and why-to of Google Earth (GE). Start with the two minute video, then click through the steps at the right. You are also invited to ADD to the wiki so other teachers can learn from you! The wiki includes curriculum ideas grade by grade (listed in text form). Since the wiki originated in the Toronto area, some topics are Canadian-only, but the wiki is open to all global learners and teachers.

tag(s): globe (14), landforms (45), landmarks (26), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Plan your personal professional development on your own or with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teachers to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
 

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Google Earth - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is free for download. Find landforms, geographic locations features, pictures, and...more
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is free for download. Find landforms, geographic locations features, pictures, and more from around the world using this satellite-powered software. As you spin the globe, you can tilt to view locations at an angle to show elevation, click to play a "tour" or "fly" from one location to another, or simply open tours and placemarker files created by others. Once you are comfortable, try making tours and placemarkers of your own. Note: this software uses more than the usual "bandwidth" to stay connected to the Internet while you are using it, so dial-up and slow connections will not work. Some schools block this tool because of the bandwidth needed, but teachers should not let this stop you from requesting this software to use in whole-class or group settings.

tag(s): climate (92), earth (228), landforms (45), landmarks (26), news (261), oceans (147)

In the Classroom

Use tutorials from this site to learn more, or try some Google Earth files from TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission to get a taste of what the program can do. Get started by exploring the different LAYERS available in the left side and searching a location you know. Locate and try the tools to drag, tilt, zoom, and even measure distance. Extensive user forums are available through the help menus.

Placemarker files created by you "live" on the computer where you make or save them and are not shared on the web. Note that your computer will ask whether you wish to save your "temporary places" (any places you have marked during a session) each time you close Google Earth. If many students use that computer, you may find you have a disorganized mess of saved places. Be sure to direct students to either name their saved places logically and file them into folders or NOT to save them to My Places! Students and teachers can create placemarker (.kmz or .kml) files and share them as email attachments, files on a USB "stick," or any other means you would use to share a file, just like a Word document.

Another practical tip: if students are using Google Earth on several machines at the same time, you may put a heavy load on your school network. Plan accordingly, perhaps having groups alternate their Google Earth time if it becomes sluggish.

Use Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Ex. you can tilt to show the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Have students show the locations of historic events or literary settings and create placemarkers with links to learn more. Placemarker text is editable by going to the placemarker's "properties" or "info," so students can enter the text description, place title, and any inks they want to include, such as a link to a certain passage of text, an image of a character, or news image/article for a current events map. Students who know html code can get even more sophisticated in what they include in placemarkers. Have students/groups create and play a "tour" of critical locations for global warming, a comparison of volcanoes, or a family history of immigration. Navigate the important locations in a work of literature using Google Lit Trips or search the web for placemarker files connected to civil war battles, natural resources, and more. Turn layers on and off to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a tactile experience on an interactive whiteboard and the scale and measurement tools. See more ideas at the teacher-created Google Earth 101 wiki reviewed here. Even if you do not venture into creating your own placemarker files, there are many already made and available for use by teachers and students. TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission includes a weekly file to follow the Mission.

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Place Spotting - Martin Fussen

Grades
2 to 12
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An EASY way to try making your own online content for the first time! At this site, students get practice using Google Maps' satellite technology and user-created hints to locate ...more
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An EASY way to try making your own online content for the first time! At this site, students get practice using Google Maps' satellite technology and user-created hints to locate a place from a Place spotting "quiz," as pictured with a Google map. A world map below the "quiz" location image allows them to explore the globe and zoom in to pinpoint the location shown in the "quiz" map. Students use hints to narrow their search area. Be aware, MOST of the hints are in English, but there are a few in other world languages.

Once students or class find the map location, they can choose to try other maps or send a map "quiz" to others. The real power of Place Spotting is that students, teachers, and whole-class groups can also create their Own Place Spotting "quizzes" with accompanying hints using the "Create" page. Here is a sample made by the TeachersFirst review team. This site also includes a blog and search option (i.e. to find maps in specific languages).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): landforms (45), latitude (13), longitude (13), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Click Create to create your own place spotting "quiz" for others to solve. The simple steps have numbered directions. Be sure to enter the security "code" and click "Store" for your quiz to be saved. Note that you may decide whether to make it "private" (invisible to others except by invitation). Share the quiz you create by copy/pasting the URL that shows after you click "store." You can always find it again using the search tool, but knowing the URL allows you to give it to others as a link. You might want to "collect" your class Place Spotting links in a Word document (for safe keeping) or on a class wiki.

The only safety concerns are if kids write questions or use places that might lure people to their school or identify themselves (their own house, for example). Check the box to make the quiz private if it is so revealing that you want to keep it only for those you know (GET THE URL and be sure the teacher keeps the list. Private ones cannot be found using the search!). Kids can use them to quiz each other if the teacher/kids shared the group of "private" ones as links on a teacher web page, class wiki, or in a word document (clickable).

Use this site when studying the concept of satellite imagery and map skills. Contrast this site's technology with that of a hand held GPS device. Discuss the map skills needed to use it, including the comparison of the ZOOM tool with a map scale. This is a great activity for ESL and ELL or weaker readers since there is little language involved! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector for a daily "map challenge" or as an anticipatory set/activator at the start of any place-related lesson. Choose places as a class and create your own maps, or have students work in cooperative learning groups to create their own maps about places in their community, landmarks of local history, or cultural sites of countries they study in world languages (be sure to mark private, if they are maps that reveal too much information). Classes could build a community treasure hunt of local history or a landform "find-it" on their wiki, simply by including the URLs -- even add digital pictures of the actual location with each "quiz." You will want to us the areas with higher-resolution images for landform study! Older students can put links or embed the quiz on their blogs or wikis, too. Literature lessons could include Placespotting quizzes for major sites in the stories (assuming they are real) or important places in the author's life. You may want to list this site on your class website; families could map out vacation spots, countries of ancestry, and more.
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Google Maps - Google

Grades
1 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in...more
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in the world. Type or paste in an address and click "search maps." If you click Satellite or hybrid versions of the map, you will see actual satellite images of the terrain. Zoom in and out, use the street view "orange man" to walk among the buildings and trees, or plan and share a route easily with Google Maps. Using your (free) Google membership allows you to save favorite places and more. Find businesses and other features near a specific map location: hotels, restaurants, schools, parks, and more. Google Maps has become more and more sophisticated, now offering many features previously only available in Google Earth, such as opening and/or saving placemarker files. Unlike Google Earth, Google Maps does not require software installation and does not use as much bandwidth for constant reloading. You can even play a tour of places you mark in Google Maps. They just keep adding more features! Google Maps is available as a free app for Android and iOS, too. The handy embed codes let you put any Google Map in a web page, blog, or wiki. Of course you do not need a membership or any special skills to simply SEE, share, or navigate a map. Membership gives you more ways to save.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (193), directions (20), maps (287)

In the Classroom

If you teach geography, this one's a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. In lower grades, use it to show students basics of their community. Teach map skills by showing students their own community. Zoom in on their street or on the school. This site and its more sophisticated cousin, Google Earth, are great on an interactive whiteboard. Set up a class Google account (or use student accounts if permitted). Have students create their own custom route plans to tour historic sites. Challenge math students to plan the most economical route to visit several vacation destinations, including gas mileage and gas prices. Have students create placemarker files of the important places in the life of a famous person or the route traveled by a particular unit during the Civil War. Have student groups create placemarker files to show environmental sites, habitats, landforms, or anything you can place on a map. Embed projects in a class wiki using the handy embed code offered as a sharing option.

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