Teacher Review for Google Earth

3d maps and pictures rock students' world!

Sam G.
Media specialist/librarian
Ottumwa High School
Ottumwa, United States
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My Subjects Social Studies
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Knowledge gain
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
This requires some set - up before it can be used with a class. Locations have to be scouted, and the teacher has to learn how to use the program. Once appropriate locations are found, pins should be used to identify exact areas where pictures and 3d content are available. I did this with two specific themed tours - a trip through WWI battlefields in France that I took, and a tour of churches and cathedrals of the Catholic Church. In the latter, I identified Hagia Sophia, St. Peter's in Rome, The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and Notre Dame in Paris. These churches, built over a 1500 year period, reflect changing architectural styles as well as the changing powers of the church. In order to see how the church changed over time, I felt, as a teacher, I could show students how their most powerful buildings changed over time. Once you have pinned these buildings and identified how you will use the 3d models, you can take students to the first church, Hagia Sophia. there, you can examine the entire neighborhood around the building, which was used as a Mosque for most of it's history. You can also check out a few 360 degree pictures inside the church, or fly around the outside of the building. Students really appreciate the scale of the building from the inside. From there, you can fly to Rome, or Barcelona, or Paris, examining different churches from the inside or out. As someone with an Art-History B.A., I found this way of looking at the world much more interesting than simple 2d pictures. At every stop, be sure to check for engagement. Ask students how this church differs from the previous. Ask them why that might be, or what that might mean about the church at the time. If students are comfortable, you can install this program on different computers, and have them run the program themselves. In the 3 years that I have used this product, I have found tha that students love it. Few are unengaged, and the amount of technology know-how it takes to observe is minimal. Interactive lectures like this are much more effective thank static worksheets and book learning.
My Take
Although this site needs a good internet connection, this product truly transforms any history or art history classroom. Students who witness the awesome power of Google maps and 3d Google Earth are dumbstruck by the vivid depictions of real places in far away lands. This product brings places like Notre Dame in Paris or Hagia Sophia in Istanbul up close and personal to students who may not ever go there. This is a great website / app / program. It takes a bit to set - up. Basically, I like to take students on a tour of interesting places. I love the detail in the 3d cities. And, it allows me to travel the world without having to go anywhere. In fact, dream vacations are as close as pin drops, which allow teachers to make tour routes for students to follow by their own or in a whole group class format. Worksheets or firsthand observations can work well with students as you guide them through the dimensions of space and time to places they may have only read about in dusty books. As someone who has been to many of the places I show students, I can attest to the reality of the pictures that Google Earth and 360 cities provide.