How I Use It
I worked with a class of students that, similar to the Flat Stanley adventures, sent a school mascot to people they knew living throughout the state. Friends and relatives were asked to photograph the mascot at a spot near their home and send some information regarding that landmark. As an extension, we were able to re-create the 'journey' of a school mascot across the state. By being able to mark locations, add text information and images, and embed audio, students were able to make the journey come to life! Our class's Google Earth Tour not only helped the students learn more about the geography of our great state, but it also helped them hone their writing and speaking skills as clarity and accuracy were important to our class tour.
Overall, Google Earth is a great way to get students exploring and bringing the 'real world' to life. Not only can they read about specific locations, they can travel there, and see important land features, landmarks, and information along the way. As a social tool it is interesting to be able to see other people who have marked a location or landmark and read their commentary on it. It is not the easiest to maneuver around and does take some upfront time by the teacher, but the results are worth it.