How I Use It
I have had students use Google Earth in a common assessment where they have to locate something on the planet and discuss how the landforms occurred. As for biology, letting students look at different biome regions across the planet. This helps most of them form a different understanding of the complexities of the ecosystems on the Planet.
I have used this site in both Earth Science and Biology. It helps to provide students with a larger than typical perspective on the planet and its differences throughout its surface and oceans. The Earth Science applications are obvious, allowing students to explore the world and ask questions about it and its formation.
As for biology, the applications are more looking at different biospheres and helping students recognize where they live and the different international biomes.
The real strength in Google Earth is the fact that it is real world and real life imagery. It empowers students to explore the world around then, unlike we have ever been able to do before. Even the simple task of finding their own home is suddenly exciting, and they can see things around their houses that they may never have noticed or considered. That is transformational for many students. Making work relevant engages students, and Google Earth allows me to do that. When students research a topic, say plate boundaries, now it is not something that is just thousands of miles away where they are looking at static imagery on the board or in a book. Instead, when we talk about the mid-ocean ridge, they can actually see it, or the Great African Rift Valley, they can see the structures associated with that type of plate boundary.