Teaching With Google Earth
Traveling abroad can be a great learning tool for students. However, it can be very expensive. Thankfully, teachers now have the world at their fingertips with Google Earth. Google Earth is a free downloadable tool that allows people to "fly" anywhere in the world. This highly advanced version of Yahoo! Maps or Mapquest uses satellite imagery and aerial photography to zoom in on any place on the planet.
As you can imagine, this program can come in very handy for geography teachers. However, you can also work history, science and literature lessons into a trip on Google Earth. There is even a guide for educators on Google that explains how the program can be used with virtually any curriculum.
Want to see the Eiffel Tower? Google Earth offers a simple search tool that is identical to the one used by the Google search engine. Simply type in "Eiffel Tower" and you will be instantly transported to real-life imagery of the landmark on a 3D globe. Some popular locations even offer a street-level view, which is quite remarkable.
Educators are quickly catching on to how useful this program can be in the classroom. Sites like Google Lit Trips offer virtual tours of famous places from important literature. There is also a blog that is expressly dedicated to education through Google Earth, GELessons.
One of the newest features on Google Earth will also appeal to science teachers. Amazingly, you can now switch to a "sky view." That's right -- Google has taken detailed images from NASA and constructed a virtual planetarium. From the Earth's moon to the Andromeda Galaxy, you can now visit these celestial wonders with the click of a mouse.
Schools should be able to benefit greatly from this free tool. After a quick download, you can access all the features from the computer's desktop without connecting to the Internet. From grade school to graduate school, we could all learn a lot from Google Earth.
This article is contributed by Heather Johnson, who regularly writes on the topic of top online universities. She invites your questions and writing job opportunities at her personal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Google Earth by moontan