How I Use It
We set up Professional Development for our Teachers. We taught the teachers how they can use Google Earth as a supplement to all kinds of lessons, bringing the geography and topography of different locations to life. Teachers can use their Apple TV or Chromecast to display their device so that the students can see it on the smartboard. The students then use their device (either an iPad, a Chromebook, or another tablet) to perform searches, zoom around the Earth, select layers, and submit eye-level photos which is a separate service which is produced by Panoramio. It's a very engaging and interactive way to make lessons more interactive and exciting, and the Google Earth Community (G+) has user groups that share teaching ideas and classroom learning resources.
Yes, it can be a bit "wonky" at times. And the Google Earth tablet version definitely offers less functionality than the PC version but it is still a good tool to punctuate social studies, world language or almost ANY lesson!!! Our teachers like the amazing detail and the fact that there are eight layers (great for older kids), and you can upload photos of your own and take screenshots (super easy on a tablet). We ran into a few issues with our Android tablets, like the new Earth Gallery feature, with special maps in seven categories, is buggy and doesn't display well. However, Students can enter locations and quickly maneuver across the globe, zooming in to show detail right down to the level of parked cars. The "Lookaround" option anchors you, limiting your view to tilting up, down, and 360 degrees. When "Lookaround" is off, the Pan mode allows users to explore freely across terrain by swiping. Zoom in by placing two fingers on the screen and moving them apart or by double-tapping with a single finger. Zoom out by placing two fingers on the screen and moving them together, or by double-tapping the screen with two fingers. Kids find it almost intuitive to use, whereas it took the teachers a little longer to figure out!