How I Use It
My favorite experience thus far has been using the Google Earth app to zoom in on a student home (without giving out address information and with their permission, of course). The entire class loved the personalization of the lesson, and they immediately understood that "Big Brother" is indeed, all around us-- just as in Orwell's 1984. I look forward to utilizing this application in lessons for my expository reading and writing course which will explore different aspects of the NSA issue that has been so prevalent in our media of late.
As a teaching tool, Google Earth can be used in many ways: Literature Trips, Virtual Field Trips, Literary Cartography, etc. I have seen Science teachers use this site for tracking migration patterns of certain (tracked) animals and astronomy lessons, Mathematics teachers use it for calculating distances, Social Science teachers make lessons come to life with visual artifacts that their students might not otherwise experience. I like how pervasive the tool is in the sense that it can be, and often is, used by anyone in any field to introduce and/r extend their teaching or learning experience. This is a site that might eventually look to improve by making the ability for users to directly engage more obvious (i.e. encouraging teachers to have students interact by uploading pictures of their locations, or something similar).