Sunday, August 16, 2009

Google Earth

Google Earth is a satellite imagery-based mapping product that puts the whole world on a student's computer. It is basically a 3D model of the entire planet and is like a video game and search engine rolled into one (Google For Educators, 2009). I have some previous experience using this program (I have flown to various destinations around the world, searched for my house using street view and used the various navigation controls) however after exploring it in more depth, I realise that my knowledge was at a very basic level.

When using this program within the classroom having a basic understanding just won't cut it. There are so many other functions that can be utilised and the possibilities for teaching and learning are endless. Initially I thought that this program would lend itself to subject areas such as geography and maths where students would be required to examine continents and mountain ranges or calculate distances using the measurement tools. After further investigation I now know that Google Earth can be used for creating learning experiences for many KLA's, from English to Science and SOSE. Students can explore topics like:
  • the progress of human civilisation
  • the growth of cities
  • the impact of civilisation on the natural environment
  • the impact of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina
(Google For Educators, 2009)

This just names a few however the possibilities are endless and the only limit to Google Earths classroom use is your imagination. I believe that the use of this program for educational purposes is consistent with Oliver's (1999, as cited in AusInfo, 2003) learning design framework, and would allow the Learning Manager to develop high quality learning experiences using the three elements of learning tasks, learning resources and learning supports. As it is easy to get distracted (or off task) when using this program I feel that it is essential for the students to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them or what the Learning Manager requires them to do.

Due to the authentic and real-world context of this program it provides a meaningful and engaging learning environment for students, and will most likely result in learners that are more motivated to learn.

AusInfo. (2003). Learning design. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

Google For Educators. (2009). Google Earth. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

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