How I Use It
In my Spanish classroom I use Google Earth to explore different places in Spanish speaking countries. The students enjoy seeing what we learn about in class. They also enjoy when I allow them to navigate through an area and point out the places that stand out/interest them. It's a great activity to use during a virtual field trip. It makes the students feel like they have been to that particular place not just read about it.
In class, I use airserver to project the map from my ipad to the smartboard. I then allow students to come up and navigate through different areas. Usually, we participate in a class discussion of what we see. When I use it as part of a webquest, the students have to pull up and navigate through an area on their own. They have to answer questions and provide descriptions about their "trip."
Generally, everything works great with Google Earth. Sometimes the students will get distracted and want to explore other areas rather than the task at hand. I combat this by moving throughout the computer lab as they are on the computers and deducting points from their assignment if I see them exploring an unassigned area.
This product is easy to use and it is FREE! If you can navigate a website or Google maps, you can easily use Google earth. Students can download the app on their own devices as well and use it outside of the classroom. The students enjoy Google earth because they are somewhat familiar with it already. I enjoy the fact that I do not need to spend class time explaining how to navigate.