Teacher Review for Google Earth

Full-bodied Geography Tool That Brings the Rest of the World Closer

Dierdre S.
Media specialist/librarian
Frank Borman Middle School
Phoenix, United States
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My Rating
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
I've used Google Earth for a number of collaborative projects (one had students measuring distances from their home, to several world landmarks) as well as examining locations of story settings, and diffusing stereotypes about other locations. My favorite feature though is the Historical Imagery feature, in which you can view various locations at various points in history. We were able to look at our school over time and determine how it had changed and been added to throughout the years (and debate where the school ghost originally came from!) Another cool thing you can do is use the Google Lit Trips website (http://bit.ly/12GiAzo) to download .kmz files into Google Earth. These place key pinpoints of a story onto the globe. For example, Number the Stars has pin points all throughout Europe as the main character tries to stay safe during the Holocaust. Many pinpoints include story information and questions about the location and story. Generally speaking, there are many great .kmz files that you can load into Google Earth to expand the available information. Overall, it's a great tool that can be adapted for use in many settings, with any student.
My Take
This is an excellent tool to help kids realize that there are real people in the rest of the world living their daily lives. Google Earth has many great features that can help history and geography come alive. It is a very full-featured program, so there may components of the program that you never get to, but that's ok. Just helping kids understand where a story is taking place can make all the difference.