Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Google Earth 6 - Better Street View and More

Google Earth 6 is now available for everyone to download. The highlights of Google Earth 6 are improved Street View use, easier to find historical imagery, and 3D trees.

The latest version of Google Earth features Street View imagery as an integrated part of the viewing experience. No longer do you have to turn on the Street View layer in order to see street level imagery. In Google Earth 6 the "Pegman" that you're familiar with from Google Maps is present in the standard navigation tools of Google Earth. Just grab the Pegman and drag him to the Earth to zoom in and see street level imagery.

Historical imagery in Google Earth is a feature that I've talked about a couple of times in the past because I think it is a good option that history teachers can take advantage of. Unfortunately, it wasn't always easy to find it in Google Earth 5. In Google Earth 6 anytime historical imagery is available for an area the date of the oldest imagery available will appear at the bottom of the screen. Just click that date on the timeline to see the imagery.

Finally, in an effort to make 3D layers more realistic, Google has introduced 3D trees for Google Earth.

Learn more about Google Earth 6 in the video below.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Earth Across the Curriculum
11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year

Soundcities - Listen to Sounds of Cities

Soundcities is a database of sounds recorded in cities around the world. The sound recordings contain everything from car horns to voices to dogs barking. To locate recordings you can click on a placemark on the Soundcities map or choose from a list of cities. You can play the recordings directly from the Soundcities site or download the recordings as kml files to use in Google Earth.

Applications for Education
Soundcities could be useful as a complement to imagery found in Google Street View. The sound recordings combined with Street View imagery could give students a more complete picture of what it is like to be at ground level in a city.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
ArcGIS Explorer Online - Explore GIS Layers
A Simple Explanation of Geocaching
47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom

Miro Video Converter & Miro 3.5

Miro, the open source video player, recently released version 3.5 and the new Miro Video Converter. Miro 3.5 includes a media converter that allows you to convert videos into the best formats for display on iPhones and Android devices. Miro 3.5 also updated subtitle display to give you options for the best display for you. If you don't want to download Miro 3.5 you can choose to download just the Miro Video Converter to convert files to formats for iPhone and Android display.

If you're unfamiliar with Miro, watch the video below for a brief introduction and overview.

Applications for Education
Miro is a great way to download videos to use offline. If you work in a school that blocks most video sites, Miro is a good application to have installed on your laptop. You can download videos within your Miro player in a place where you can get on the Internet and then play them back at any time regardless of Internet availability. The mainstream media channels on Miro provide thousands of videos relevant to all content areas. 

Add a Gradebook to Google Apps for Education

Even though Google now offers ten times more services for Google Apps for Education than they did at the beginning of the year, they still don't have a gradebook service. But the next best thing is a new offering from the free online gradebook system LearnBoost (previously reviewed here and here). LearnBoost can now be integrated into your Google Apps for Education account. LearnBoost can be found here in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Click here or watch the video below to learn how to add LearnBoost to your Google Apps for Education account.

Adding LearnBoost in Google Apps Marketplace from LearnBoost on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
A lot of schools spend a lot of money every year on gradebook systems. Integrating LearnBoost into Google Apps for Education could save schools a significant amount of money every year.

Full Disclosure: in August 2011 LearnBoost became a paying advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Win a Flip Camera from C-SPAN

Last winter I shared with you some information for getting a free 3'x6' Presidential Timeline Poster from C-SPAN. If you took advantage of that offer, C-SPAN wants to hear from you. Send C-SPAN an email to with an explanation of how you're using that poster. Your email will enter you in a drawing for one of five Flip video cameras. If this is your first time reading about C-SPAN's Presidential Timeline and you're interested in getting a copy for your classroom, there are still posters available here.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Print Your Own Wall Size Poster
How to Use C-SPAN's Video Library In Your Classroom