Wow, Google Earth is amazing! According to Wikipedia (2009) it is; "a virtual globe, map and geographic information program...It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe." The technology is almost unbelievable. I have been using Google Earth at home for really simple things like looking at my house, or I have followed the streets to a specific place to check it's accuracy. It is very accurate! I have discovered, however, that there are so many other incredible things to do! It is possible to learn information about buildings. It is possible to look at the Earth years ago. It is possible to zoom through the sky and look at the sky, the moon and mars! They even contain specific information about the stars. There are so many things to do that I couldn't possibly outline them all. My best advice would be to start exploring.
The whole world is placed at learners' fingertips with the use of Google Earth. Learners are able to visually see the earth, they don't have to imagine it, or look at a fake globe and try to imagine that this is our planet. That a tiny sphere, that they can hold in their hands, is home to the entire human race. Learners are able to explore the Earth at a space and street level. It contains geographic information. Google explains that it's "like a video game and a search engine rolled into one" (Google, 2009).
It is such an engaging interactive tool, I am getting excited about it myself! Google Earth is a great tool for research. They areas are full of information and content. Learners are able to use it to create images of the Earth through screenshots. Learners are able to tour and explore geographic locations. It is also a great tool to promote visual literacy. Learners can examine current events. They can discover different routes and famous locations. Interactive WhiteBoards can be incorporated into learning experiences. Google Earth can be used to foster collaboration. Learners can work together in collaborative projects about a specific place. Learners could work together to create maps for an assigned trip. Google Earth can also be used to promote global awareness. Learners can learn about the sunset around the world. It can be used in geography. Learners can learn about the stars in the sky, the moon and mars. They can click onto a town and immediately a wealth of information and images are before their eyes. They can learn about volcanoes. Google Earth can be utilised in so many ways to enhance learning experiences. Dale's Cone (2009) outlines that the most effective learning is a result of direct, purposeful experiences. The Google Earth learning experiences highlighted above are direct, purposeful experiences.
I have really learnt that it is so important to explore sites deeply and meaningfully. Therefore, technology can be used to it's full potential within learning experiences.
Active Learning Online Team. (2009). What is Active Learning? Retrieved August 14, 2009, from http://www.acu.edu/cte/activelearning/whatisal.htm
Google. (2009). Google Earth. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.google.com/educators/p_earth.html
Wikipedia. (2009). Google Earth. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Earth