Sunday, October 15, 2017

Meet Pegman

Google Maps and Google Earth have a very special feature and his name is Pegman. This little guy allows us explore places around the world at Street View level. You can find him near the bottom right corner of Google Maps or in Google Earth once you select a location to explore.

Pegman is yellow in Google Maps and white in Google Earth. Regardless of which application you are using, Pegman functions the same. When you pick him up and drag him to the map, you will notice areas that light up with either blue lines, blue dots, and possibly pale orange dots. The blue lines indicate areas that have been captured by the Google Street View car. If an area has been captured more than once,  a clock icon will appear and you will be able to open it to see how the location has changed over time. The blue dots indicate photosphere images that have been uploaded by people like us using our phones or special cameras to take 360 degree pictures. The orange dots indicate images that are taken on the inside of structures. All of these types of imagery allow you to explore places around the world at ground level which is pretty amazing.

Applications for Education
There are as many ways to use Pegman to explore the world as there are classrooms in the world! Students can use him to explore almost any location on the globe. Street View provides students a way an interactive way to visit places which is more meaningful than simply viewing static pictures in a textbook.

Upload Drive Files to the Google Template Gallery

You probably already know that Google Drive has a template gallery, but did you know that you each school domain has their own template gallery where staff can upload files that are used over and over again? Perhaps it is a report that must be submitted weekly or maybe it is a template for lesson plans. 

Instead of keeping a blank copy of the document in your drive and creating a new copy each time you need it, why not upload it to the template gallery for your organization? There are some instances when it makes more sense to store a document in the template gallery rather than in a shared folder. Adding a document to the template gallery accomplishes two important things. First, it allows everyone in an organization to access the same version of a document. Second, whenever any changes are made to a document in the template gallery, everyone has immediate access to the most up to date version of that document. 

Applications for Education 
The ways that template galleries can be used in schools is unlimited. I know of schools that add documents for lesson planning, bussing, and meetings to their template galleries. 

Big History Project

The Big History Project is a free, online social studies course for middle and high school students. It can be taught over the course of a semester or an entire year. Teachers can use the teacher-generated lessons, which are aligned with the Common Core, or they can create their own using the content library.

The Big History Project was co-founded by Bill Gates and David Christian and it has grown to include teachers and scholars. It takes a multi-disciplinary approach to answer the big questions about the history of our universe and the origin of our species. The goal is to help students see the big picture and how all of the parts fit together.

To use this course, teachers need to create an account then add students by providing them with a join code or emailing them an invitation to join the class. Some examples of units for this course include The Big Bang, Stars & Elements, Early Humans, Agriculture & Civilization, and Expansion & Interconnection.

Applications for Education
Teachers can use all of this course or pull bits and pieces from it. While it is classified as a social studies course, many of the units could be used in science classes. Advanced students who need challenging work would appreciate this course.