Showing posts with label Google Earth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google Earth. Show all posts

Sunday, November 14, 2021

My Big List of Activities and Resources for Geography Awareness Week

This week is Geography Awareness Week. It's one of my favorite weeks of the year! Every year at this time I publish an updated list of some of my favorite games, activities, tools, and lessons to promote geography awareness. Here's my updated list for 2021. 

The first place to start a search for geography awareness week resources has to be National Geographic. On their Geography Awareness Week page you'll find lots of ideas including this one for hosting a geography quiz night (link opens a PDF).

WorldCover Viewer
WorldCover Viewer is an interactive land use map produced by the European Space Agency. The map lets visitors see how land is used worldwide and in specific places. Visitors can pan and zoom to see land use for an area or use the statistics explorer tools built into the map to see land use statistics for a country, state, or province. Views of the map and associated data can be downloaded from the WorldCover Viewer. As you'll see in my video overview of WorldCover Viewer, it include a tool for measuring areas of land use. In my video overview I also demonstrate how to enable different layers on the map. 



I'm Feeling Lucky!
From voyages to games to simple measuring tools, the web version of Google Earth has a lot of neat features that can help students learn about the world. One of those neat features is the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button that is found on the left hand toolbar in Google Earth. Clicking that button will take students to a randomly-selected place in the world. 

On its own the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button provides a good way for students to discover new places. That said, students learn more through the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button  if you give them a little more direction than just "click the button and look around." That's why I created a little question sheet to prompt students to do a little research about the places they discover in Google Earth via "I'm Feeling Lucky." My question sheet can be found here as a Google Doc

This short video demonstrates how students can explore Google Earth in more detail after clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky."



City Guesser 3.0
City Guesser 3.0 offers twenty-one games based on countries. There are also more than two dozen games based on major cities around the world. And there is a game based on monuments of the world. In addition to the new games, City Guesser 3.0 has two new game play modes. There is a "streaks" mode in which you try to make as many consecutive accurate guesses as possible. There are also two new "challenge" modes. There is a challenge mode in which you cannot move the imagery and have to guess from just one view. The other challenge mode is a timed mode in which you have to guess before time runs out. Watch this video for an overview of City Guesser 3.0.

MapBox Studio
With a free Mapbox Studio account you can create a custom outline map of any city, town, or neighborhood of your choosing. You can choose how much or how little detail you want to include in the map. Once you've made your selections you can save your map as a PNG or JPG file to print and distribute to your students.In this short video I demonstrate how to use Mapbox Studio to create your own custom coloring maps.



Mult Dev
Mult Dev is a free tool that lets you quickly create animated maps. In the time since I wrote about Mult Dev a couple of updates were made to it. The most notable of those being that you now need to sign into the service with a Google account or a GitHub account. In this short video I demonstrate how to create an animated map with Mult Dev.

Roadside America
The Library of Congress houses the John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive. That archive contains nearly 12,000 photographs of interesting roadside attractions all over the United States and eastern Canada. The collection includes pictures of things like gas stations shaped like a dinosaur, windmills that serve as ice cream stands, funky miniature golf courses, and lots of neon signs for motels and restaurants. 

The Library of Congress published an ESRI Story Map of photographs in the John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive. The map is titled Roadside America. You can view the images on an interactive map or simply scroll through some curated collections of images from the collection. I found it fun to click on the markers on the map to discover some roadside attractions in my home state as well as others around the country. But before you head out on the road to look for them I should point out that many of the photographs are of things that are no longer out on the roadside.

Roadside America provides a nice way for students to discover some pieces of Americana past and present. I'd use the map as a way to spark students' curiosity to conduct a little research about some of these interesting roadside attractions. I might also use the map as a model for having students create their own roadside attractions maps of places in their home states that they may have seen and or taken pictures of.

Drawing on Digital Maps
Creating layers and tours in Google Earth and Google My Maps can be a great way for students to assemble collections of geolocated information to summarize research, create a book tour, or even develop safe walking and biking routes. But sometimes you just need to quickly draw or pin things to a digital map. In those cases, launching Google Earth or My Maps is a bit more than you need. That's when Scribble Maps, Google Drawings, or Google Jamboard are handy. 

Scribble Maps is a digital mapping tool that lets anyone make free-hand drawings on top of a variety of base maps. To use it simply head to ScribbleMaps.com/create/ and select one of the drawing tools. Registration is not required in order to use it although there are some pop-ups that will try to sell you on upgrades from the free version. Here's a short overview of Scribble Maps. 



Google Drawings and Google Jamboard both let you import images that you can then draw on top of. To do that just open a new Google Drawing or new Google Jamboard then use the integrated image search to find a map. Once you've selected a map you can use the drawing tools to mark on it. Here's a demonstration of how that process can work in Google Drawings.



The process that I described above for using Google Drawings and Google Jamboard can also be done with the online version of PowerPoint. To do that, create a new slide then use the integrated Bing Images search to find a map. One of the nice things about the Bing Images integration in PowerPoint is that it will automatically search for Creative Commons licensed works and automatically insert an attribution link. Once the image has been added to the slide you can use the built-in drawing tools to mark on the map.

Strange Borders
Earlier this year I read an interesting article titled Belgian Farmer Accidentally Moves French Border. The whole story is almost exactly what the title says. A farmer moved a stone that was in his way when plowing a field. It just happened that the stone he moved is a marker for the border between two small towns in Belgium and France. The border itself is not in dispute and the border is a relatively normal one between two friendly neighbors. Still, reading the story reminded me of a couple of videos that I've bookmarked about irregular country borders. 

Countries Inside Countries (Bizarre Borders, Part 1) was produced by CGP Grey seven years ago to illustrate where some of the landlocked countries of the world are and how they became landlocked. The video also highlights countries that have only one neighbor. 

Canada & The United States (Bizarre Borders, Part 2) explains why border between the United States and Canada might look like a long straight line in many places, but is not a straight line. The video also delves into some border quirks and disputes. The Google Earth file used in video is available to download here on CGP Grey's website.



Tom Scott has also produced a couple of interesting videos about interesting borders between countries. In The Most Complex Borders in Europe: Why Do We Have Nations? he explains the complicated border between Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands and Baarle-Hertog in Belgium. 

In The US-Canada Border Splits This Road Down the Middle he visits the border between Stanstead, Quebec, Canada and Derby Line, Vermont, United States where the border really does split a road or, depending upon who you ask, the road splits the border. In the video he explains what you can and can't do on the road as well as how border enforcement has increased in the last couple of decades. (Speaking as someone who has lived relatively close to the US-Canada border for all of my adult life and has crossed the border countless times, border crossings today are much more regulated today than they were the first time I crossed in the late 90's).





GeoQuiz
GeoQuiz is an online geography game that just asks you to try to name as many countries as you can in fifteen minutes. As soon as you enter a country's name the globe on the screen spins to center on that country. If you misspell a country the globe doesn't spin and your entry doesn't count. You can play GeoQuiz on your own or you can compete against other players in online rooms. Either way, you don't need to register or enter any personal information in order to play GeoQuiz. To play against others you can join an existing room or create your own and invite people to join it. To have others join your room all you have to do is pick a name for your room and tell people to join it in the "online mode" on the GeoQuiz homepage.

The Mind Blowing Map Quiz
The Mind-Blowing Map Quiz is designed to help students understand how Mercator projection maps distort our view of the world. It does this by asking relational questions like "how much bigger is Australia than Alaska?" and "how close are Russia and the United States?" A few fun facts are thrown into the explanations of each answer. Can You Make an Accurate Map? is a good video to show after students have played The Mind-Blowing Map Quiz. The video provides a concise explanation of why Mercator projection maps don't accurately represent the size of things near the poles but are none-the-less used in many applications.



What is a Map?

By watching What is a Map? students can learn how maps evolved over time, the political implications of maps, and how maps are used to represent data as well as locations.

City Walks
City Walks is a neat website that you can use to go for a virtual walk in more than a dozen cities around the world. You can experience the cities with or without sound. You can go for virtual walks in the daytime or at night. At the start of each walk you'll see some quick facts about the city that might help you understand a little more about what you're seeing during the walk.City Walks is essentially a really nice display of street-level YouTube videos with some additional menu options overlaid on them. That's not meant as a knock on the site as it is a nice site. That does mean that there isn't any interactivity built into virtual walks like you might experience in a virtual reality experience. The video sources for City Walks are clearly labeled in the lower-right corner of each screen.

Quizzity!
Quizzity is an online geography game that uses a concept found in lots of map-based games. That concept is to show you the name of a place and then have you guess its location by clicking on a map. Quizzity quizzes you on cities all over the world. To increase the accuracy of your guesses you should zoom-in on a region before clicking the map. Each round of Quizzity presents you with six city names. Points are awarded for accuracy and speed.

Seterra
Seterra offers hundreds of geography games in 39 languages. You can play the games online in your web browser or download the apps to play on a phone or tablet. In the following video I demonstrate four ways that you can play the online version of Seterra's geography games.


Go Geocaching!
Geocaching is a great activity to get kids outside for hands-on learning experiences. Last summer I outlined a handful of ideas for using geocaching to teach lessons on geospatial awareness, Earth science, and digital citizenship. Read more about those ideas here. If you can get parents to install the Geocaching app on their phones, geocaching could make for a great "at-home" geography lesson for parents to do with their kids.

Find the Towns of the Same Name
This is a modification of an activity that I did as a sixth-grader in Mrs. Carlson's class in Manchester, Connecticut. She had us use atlases to see how many other Manchesters there are in the world and where they are. Then we had to write a short blurb about each Manchester. The modern version of this activity is to have students choose a common town name like Manchester and use Google Maps to find out how many towns in the world have that name. Then on their Google Maps or Scribble Maps students can add placemarks in which they write about interesting things about those towns. Students can add videos and images to their placemarks too.

Make a Group Map of Stories
This is an idea that I got many years ago from my friend Jim Wells. Jim had his students write short stories of happy memories and then place those stories on a printed map. Today, you can have students do this on Google Maps or Scribble Maps. This activity can help students see the significance of place in the formation of memories. You can even have your whole class contribute to one map by having them enter their stories in a Google Form then using the corresponding spreadsheet to create a Google Maps of stories. My video on how to do that is embedded below. 

Find Out What Geographers Do
There's a lot more than just "make maps" to say in response to the question, "what are you going to do with a degree in geography?" The American Association of Geographers has a nice list of career paths in geography. Here's a "day in the life of a geographer" video from that same page. 



Make Your Own Compass
Make Your Own Compass explains to kids what a compass is, how it works, and how they can make their own with common household products. 



Mathigon Maps Lessons
In Surface Area of a Sphere Mathigon includes an interactive diagram that illustrates the problem that cartographers have when trying to create maps of the world. The interactive diagram shows four map projections and the areas of the map that are distorted by each projection. Students can click on each of the map projections to see a comparison of an area on the 2D map to the same area on a globe. Overall, it's a good way for students to see how two dimensional world maps can distort the size and scale of an area. 

Mathigon's Map Coloring Challenge asks students to use as few colors as possible to color in all 50 U.S. states without having the same color touching two states at the same time. For example, if I color New Hampshire purple, I can't use purple on Vermont, Maine, New York, or Massachusetts but I could use purple on Pennsylvania.

On a related note the USGS offers a free map projections poster (link opens a PDF). You may also want to take a look at Projection Wizard as another tool for showing students how various projections distort the regions of the world. 

Timelapse Imagery in Google Earth
In this short video I demonstrate how to view timelapse imagery in the web version and in the desktop version of Google Earth.


In the video above I showed some of the timelapse imagery of urban sprawl around some cities in the United States. That imagery could be used as the prompt for a research assignment for students to investigate the causes of the growth of those cities.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

How to Overlay Historical Maps on Current Maps

Next week is Geography Awareness Week. Google Earth is my favorite educational technology tool to use to teach history and geography lessons. And one of my favorite things to do with Google Earth is to overlay historic maps onto current maps. It's a great way for students to see how borders have changed over time, how landscapes have changed over time, and how our understanding of the world has changed throughout history. 

There are a couple of ways to overlay historical maps on current maps in Google Earth. The first is to simply use the Rumsey Historical Maps collection layer in Google Earth. That method is demonstrated here. The other method is to find a historic map, download it, then use it as an image overlay in Google Earth. That method is demonstrated here





If you're interested in learning more about using Google Earth and Google Maps in your classroom, my self-paced Crash Course in Google Eath & Maps for Social Studies is 50% off!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

How to Share Specific Google Earth Views and Turn Them Into Assignments

Google Earth has a lot of great little features that sometimes get overlooked. One of those features is the ability to share a specific location and view of that location. In fact, you can share a specific location and view directly into your Google Classroom. When you share it you can share it as an announcement or as an assignment.

In this short video I demonstrate how to share a specific Google Earth location and view in Google Classroom. The second half of the video demonstrates how to create an assignment based on the view that you're sharing. 




My self-paced course, A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies covers many more great ways to use Google Earth in your classroom.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

I'm Feeling Lucky - A Google Earth Lesson

From voyages to games to simple measuring tools, the web version of Google Earth has a lot of neat features that can help students learn about the world. One of those neat features is the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button that is found on the left hand toolbar in Google Earth. Clicking that button will take students to a randomly-selected place in the world. 

On its own the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button provides a good way for students to discover new places. That said, students learn more through the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button  if you give them a little more direction than just "click the button and look around." That's why I created a little question sheet to prompt students to do a little research about the places they discover in Google Earth via "I'm Feeling Lucky." My question sheet can be found here as a Google Doc. 

This short video demonstrates how students can explore Google Earth in more detail after clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky."



To learn more about using Google Earth in your classroom, take a look at my Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Five Google Earth Features for Teachers

Google Earth has been one of my favorite ed tech tools for more than a decade. Over the years it has evolved as a desktop application and as a browser-based application. The web browser version of Google Earth seems to be getting the bulk of development attention from Google these days so I've created a new video that highlights five features of Google Earth (web version) that teachers should know how to use. These features are helpful and can be used in more than just social studies settings. 

In the video I demonstrate how to do the following things in the web version of Google Earth:

  • Locate and share lessons.
  • Share Google Earth games and quizzes via Google Classroom.
  • Create and share collections of placemarks in Google Earth. 
  • Change the base map in Google Earth. 
  • Change the units of measurement in Google Earth.


Learn much more about Google Earth by taking my online course, A Crash Course in Google Earth and Maps for Social Studies.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Five Ideas for Using Google Earth & Maps for More Than Social Studies Lessons

Later this week I'm conducting an online professional development workshop about Google Earth and Maps. One of my goals for the workshop is to help participants develop ideas for using Google Earth and Google Maps for more than just geography and history lessons. To that end I've put together a short list of ideas and resources for using Google Earth and Google Maps in multiple subject areas.

Language Arts
Google Lit Trips is probably the most popular example of using Google Earth in the context of language arts. Google Lit Trips are Google Earth tours based on books and authors. In Google Earth and on Google's My Maps services your students can create their own tours highlighting important places in a book or important places in the life of an author.

Science
Google Earth provides a great way for students to explore interesting geological landmarks in 3D. Using the timeslider in the desktop version of Google Earth can show students the changes in a landscape due to erosion and other natural and man-made forces.

There is no shortage of lesson plans featuring Google Earth available online. A couple that I recommend looking at are Rich Treves' flooding and volcano lessons and What's a Watershed created at the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College.

Math
For K-5 classrooms there is probably no better place to start than on Tom Barrett's Maths Maps site. There you will find short, Google Maps-based activities that require students to perform measurements and use arithmetic to answer questions. The activities represent a great combination of mathematics and geography.

If you have middle school or high school students, you will want to explore Real World Math. On Real World Math you will find lesson plans that utilize Google Earth for teaching the concepts used in calculating volume of solids, timezones, and rocketry. 

Physical Education
Perhaps my favorite use of Google's My Maps is for planning safe walking, hiking, and biking routes. You can also use Google Earth to help students understand how elevation change alters the speed at which routes are completed.

Art
By using Google's My Maps tools or the desktop version of Google Earth, students can map the locations of where a piece of local art is housed, where it was created, and the places that inspired the artist. Each placemark on a student's map could include a picture of the artwork, a picture of the artist, and or a video about the art and artist. To provide a complete picture a student can include text and links to more information about the art and artist.

For some inspiration on this topic take a look at Monet Was Here on Google Arts & Culture.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Five Activities for Teaching and Learning With Primary Sources

As a history teacher one of my favorite yet challenging things to do was introduce my students to primary sources. It's great because it reveals to them a whole new world of research opportunities. There's nothing better than a student saying, "wow! Mr. Byrne, look at this!" At the same time learning to read, evaluate, and utilize primary sources can be long process with some students. The following are some of the online activities incorporating primary sources that I've done with my students over the years.

1. Compare textbooks, primary sources, and Wikipedia.
This is a rather simple activity that I've done over the years as an introduction to the value of primary sources. In the activity I provide students with a textbook entry, a Wikipedia entry, and a primary source document about the same event or topic. I then have them read all three and compare the information about the event. The outline of questions for students is available in this Google Document that I created.

2. Guided reading of primary sources through Google Documents.
One of my favorite ways to use the commenting feature in Google Documents is to host online discussions around a shared article. Through the use of comments connected to highlighted sections of an article I can guide students to important points, ask them questions, and allow them to ask clarifying questions about the article. All the steps for this process are outlined in Using Google Documents to Host Online Discussions of Primary Sources.

3. Historical Scene Investigations.
Historical Scene Investigation offers a fun way for students to investigate history through primary documents and images. Historical Scene Investigation presents students with historical cases to "crack." Each of these thirteen cases present students with clues to analyze in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. The clues for each investigation come in the forms of primary documents and images as well as secondary sources. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the documents and images. At the conclusion of their investigation students need to answer questions and decide if the case should be closed or if more investigation is necessary. (Once you have done a couple of these with your students it becomes easy to craft your own HSI activities or have them craft HSI activities for each other).

4. Historical Image Identification.
Find some historical images in the World Digital Library, the Flickr Commons, or the Digital Public Library of America. Take those images and put them into a Google Drive or OneDrive folder. Then have your students pick a photograph to research to identify who or what is featured in the image. Take it a step further and have students use ThingLink to add interactive labels to those images. 

5. Layer old maps on top of modern maps.
In Google Earth your students can layer images of old maps on top of current maps. This is a great way for students to see how early cartographers saw the world. It can also provide some insight into how and why early explorers chose the paths that they traveled. The David Rumsey Historical Map collection is my go-to place for historical maps.

What's the Difference Between a Primary and a Secondary Source?
If you're looking for a good video explanation of the differences between primary and secondary sources, the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota History Center offers this good and concise explanation for students.


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Handful of Resources for Learning About the Start of the American Revolution

Tomorrow is Patriots' Day here in Maine, in Massachusetts, and in a handful of other states. It's a day to mark the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. As a good New Englander with an appreciation of history, every year at this time I like to share a handful of resources for teaching and learning about the American Revolution. 

Images of the Revolutionary War is a compilation of images about the Revolutionary War. The images in the collection chronicle the stirrings of rebellion in the pre-revolution years, the war from both American and British perspectives, and events following the Revolutionary War.

Minute Man National Historical Park offers detailed lesson plans that can be in conjunction with a visit to the park and lesson plans that can be used independent of a visit to the park. Take a look at the Legacy of Conflict lesson plan designed for 5th grade students (link opens a PDF) to get a sense of the type of detailed resources that the park offers.

Creating Google Earth tours of Revolutionary War battle sites is an activity that I did for many years with my U.S. History students. Students would create multimedia placemarks for each battle in sequence. The placemarks contained information about the outcome and significance of each battle. Here's a video on how to make a tour with with the browser-based version of Google Earth.



Video Lessons
Keith Hughes has a popular video in which he explains the American Revolution for middle school and high school students.



Crash Course has an extensive series on U.S. History. Included in that series is Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution.



Mr. Betts has a YouTube channel on which he posts cartoons and song parodies to teach U.S. History lessons. Here's one he did about the Battles of Lexington and Concord.



For Red Sox Fans!
This is usually the day that the Boston Marathon is held and Red Sox play a morning game. Neither is happening this year. For my fellow Red Sox fans here's a famous clip from the 2007 Patriots' Day game.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

How to View Timelapse Imagery in Google Earth

This week Google made a big announcement about the introduction of new timelapse imagery to the web version of Google Earth. The imagery is part of the "Voyages" section of Google Earth. Within Voyages you'll find the new timelapse imagery arranged into stories and collections. You can also just browse through it on your own. 

Google Earth Pro (the free desktop version of Google Earth) has offer timelapse imagery for many years. That imagery is still available in the same place that it always has been found. That place is in the time-slider menu in Google Earth Pro. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to view timelapse imagery in the web version and in the desktop version of Google Earth. 



Applications for Education
In the video above I showed some of the timelapse imagery of urban sprawl around some cities in the United States. That imagery could be used as the prompt for a research assignment for students to investigate the causes of the growth of those cities. 

If you're interested in learning more about Google Earth and Google Maps, take a look at my self-paced Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, Today Headline, and 711Web.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Tour Creator is Closing - Here Are Some Alternatives

Like thousands of other people, this week Google sent me a reminder that Tour Creator is shutting down at the end of June. I've enjoyed making virtual reality tours with it since the first day it was available. I'm disappointed that Google is shutting it down, but there's no sense crying over spilled milk so I'm turning my attention to alternatives to Tour Creator. If you're in the same boat, here's a selection of alternatives to Tour Creator to explore. 

Story Spheres
Story Spheres is a neat tool for adding audio recordings to 360 imagery. Story Spheres lets you upload short audio recordings in which you describe to viewers what they're seeing, the history of what they're seeing, and the significance of what's in the scene they're seeing. It's possible to upload multiple recordings. When you're done you can can share your Story Spheres story in a blog post, on social media, or any other place that you typically post a link. Take a look at this Story Spheres story about Uluru to get a better sense of what can be done with Story Spheres. Last year I wrote directions for how to use Story Spheres. You can read those directions here or watch my video about how to make a Story Spheres story. 


CoSpaces EDU
CoSpaces is a platform that offers students the ability to create their own small virtual worlds. Unlike the other tools in this list, CoSpaces is an animated environment. I used CoSpaces last summer and early in the fall. It's not a tool that students will use to create a VR experience in a day. Instead, students need to spend at least a few days using CoSpaces to really get the hang of building and animating their virtual worlds. 

Google Street View App
The Google Street View app for Android and iOS offers more than just a way to view interesting places around the world. The free app includes a camera function that can be used to capture 360 photospheres. When you tap the camera icon in the app it will guide you through taking a series of pictures that will be automatically stitched together to form the photosphere. The completed photosphere can be shared with others in a variety of ways including direct sharing via SMS or email, posting on social media, or by contributing to the Google Maps community. The Google Street View iOS app is available here. The Google Street View Android app is available here.

Cardboard Camera
Cardboard Camera is a free Android app offered by Google. The app lets you take a 360 panoramic image that you can share to view in Google Cardboard viewer or similar VR headset. The app will capture any sounds including your voiceover present while capturing the image. Those who use Cardboard Camera on Android can save their VR images in Google Photos where they can be cropped and edited with basic image filters. Cardboard Camera for Android is available here. Here’s a video tutorial on how to use the Cardboard Camera app. 

Unfortunately, Google hasn't updated the app at all since 2018 so I'm not sure how much longer it will be a viable option for creating VR images.
 


A Related, Confusing Note
In addition to shutting down Tour Creator, Google is shutting down Tour Builder. Tour Builder was Google's alternative method to building tours directly in Google Earth. If you used Tour Builder, you have until the end of June to export those tours as KML files that you can then move into Google Earth. I outlined that process in the video included with the written directions here

If you're interested in learning more about Google Earth and Google Maps, take a look at my self-paced Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, Today Headline, and 711Web.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

A Video Tour of 17th Century London in 3D

This morning I read a BBC article about the rediscovery of the oldest 3D map in Europe. The map is a roughly 5 x 6.5 foot slab of carved rock. Reading that article prompted me to start looking in my archives for collections of historical maps. While doing that I came across a video that I shared back in 2013. That video is an animated 3D tour of 17th Century London

Pudding Lane Productions created a three and one half minute video tour to show viewers what London may have looked like prior to the Great Fire. The tour is based upon historical drawings and maps that the Pudding Lane Productions team researched. The video is embedded below.



Applications for Education
This video could be a good supplement to lessons about British history to show students a slightly different perspective of an overview of London that they may have read about or seen drawings of in textbooks.

This video might also inspire some ambitious students to create their own historical video tours of other cities they're studying in history and geography classes. It's possible to do that with the tour creation tool that is built into Google Earth Pro.

On a related note, in A Crash Course on Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies I teach how to make tours in Google Earth and how to overlay historical maps onto current Google Earth imagery.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin , 711Web, and Today Headline.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps

Last week I held a webinar titled 5 Google Earth & Maps Projects for Social Studies. After the webinar I realized that there was a lot more that people wanted to know about using Google Earth and Google Maps in social studies lessons. That's why I put together a new on-demand course titled A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies

A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies contains more than two hours of instruction divided into eight self-paced modules. In addition to the nuts and bolts of how to use Google Earth some of the things you'll learn in this course include how to create virtual tours, how to map datasets, how layer maps and images for comparisons, and how students can collaborate on Google Earth projects. 



FAQs:
  • The cost for this course is $27. Registration fees from my Practical Ed Tech courses make it possible to keep FreeTech4Teachers.com and my free Practical Ed Tech newsletter going. 
  • This course is designed for teachers of grades 3-12 (ages 9 to 18). Who use Windows computers, Mac computers, or Chromebooks in their classrooms.
  • When you register you will have immediate access to all of the course modules for one year. You can go back through the modules as many times as you’d like during the year.
  • Group registration is available. Email richard (at) byrne.media to learn more.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Webinar Tomorrow - Google Earth & Maps Projects for Social Studies

One of the primary ways that I've been able to keep Free Technology for Teachers going for the last couple of years is through the registration fees for my Practical Ed Tech webinars and courses. I haven't held one in 2021. That will change tomorrow when I host Five Google Earth & Maps Projects for Social Studies
 
Google Earth and Google Maps should be staples in the toolbox of anyone who teaches social studies lessons. These are powerful tools that can be used by elementary, middle, and high school students.

In this webinar on March 2nd at 4pm ET I’ll outline five social studies projects that utilize Google Maps and Google Earth to help students make discoveries and to demonstrate what they’ve learned. These projects can be adapted for use in elementary school (grades 3-5), middle school, and high school settings.

Five Things You Can Learn in This Webinar:
1. How to create multimedia maps.
2. How to build, record, and publish virtual tours.
3. How students can collaborate remotely with Google Earth and Google Maps.
4. How to map data, compare data sets, and compare past and present imagery.
5. Options for multimedia mapping with students who don’t have email or Google accounts.


When Is It? What’s Included? How Much?
  • Tuesday, March 2nd at 4pm ET. 
  • Yes, it will be recorded for those who register in advance. 
  • Recording access will be sent to all who register in advance. 
  • Project guide sheets. Copy of slides. 
  • Certificate for participation. 
  • $25


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Some of my Favorites - Historic Maps in Google Earth

This week is school vacation week here in Maine. I usually take this week off to go ice fishing on Moosehead Lake. Unfortunately, that's not happening this year. Instead I'll be "staycationing" and working on some projects around home. While on my staycation I'll be sharing some of my personal favorite tools and blog posts.


In Google Earth Pro (the free desktop version of Google Earth) you will find the Rumsey Historical Maps collection listed in the gallery of layers on the left hand side of your screen. When you turn on that layer you'll see map icons appear all over the map. Zoom-in and click on those icons to view the historical maps and see them layered over current Google Earth imagery. Watch my short video below to see how this process works.



Applications for Education
Layering historical maps over current imagery is one of my favorite uses of Google Earth. Doing this gives students a better view and understanding of how the geography of a city or a geographic area has changed over time.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Vintage Travel Posters and Google Earth

The Library of Congress offers thousands of historical images and maps that students can download and reuse for free. Most of the images and maps are found in these digital collections. Some of those images are arranged in collections on the LOC site in a section appropriately titled Free to Use and Reuse Sets. It's in that section that I found this collection of vintage travel posters

The vintage travel posters set on the LOC's website features twenty-one posters for destinations including national parks, New York City, Chicago, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico amongst other popular destinations. Most of the posters were produced in the 1930's and 40's. Clicking on a poster in the collection will reveal information about when it was produced and who created it. When you click on a poster you can download it in a variety of sizes and formats including JPEG and GIF. 

Applications for Education
When I first came across these vintage travel posters I immediately thought of using them in placemarks in Google Earth tours. I'd have students choose a few posters they liked then research a few activities that people liked to do in the areas featured in the posters. Then I'd have students put those posters into placemarks in Google Earth along with their writing about the popular activities in the area at the time the posters were produced.

Here's a video about how to put images like those in the vintage travel posters set into placemarks in Google Earth. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

How to Move Google Tour Builder Files Into Google Earth

Last week Google announced that support for Google Expeditions and Google Tour Builder would end in July 2021. I've already published a preliminary list of alternatives to Google Expeditions. If you're looking for alternatives to Google Tour Builder you don't need to look much further than to Google Earth. 

Google Tour Builder includes two options for moving your projects from Tour Builder into the web versions and desktop versions of Google Earth. 

The simplest way to move your projects from Tour Builder into the web version of Google Earth is to just select "Export to Earth" from the menu in the upper-right corner of the screen when you're viewing one of your Tour Builder projects. You'll then be asked to confirm that you want to connect your Tour Builder and Google Earth accounts. After that you'll get an email to notify you that your Tour Builder project is now viewable in Google Earth under "projects." 

The other option for moving your Tour Builder projects into Google Earth is to select the download option in the upper-right menu when viewing a Tour Builder project. You can then download your project as a KML file that you can then manually upload to the web version of Google Earth and or manually import into the desktop version of Google Earth. 

Both methods for moving projects from Tour Builder into both versions of Google Earth are demonstrated in this short video

Thursday, November 19, 2020

How to Find Google Earth Files Without Endless Browsing

This morning I responded to a Tweet from someone who was looking for "plate tectonics virtual experiences for students." My mind immediately went to using Google Earth. A quick search in my archives and I found this lesson plan calling for using Google Earth to teach plate tectonics and I found this Google Map filled with pinmarks containing questions about plate tectonics. I knew that I could find more Google Earth files related to plate tectonics if I just spent a few minutes searching. 

Instead of just opening Google Earth and browsing for tours about or related to plate tectonics I went to Google and searched according to file type. The file types supported in Google Earth and KML and KMZ, but KML is more commonly used. So to conduct the search I entered plate tectonics filetype:kml You can also accomplish the same thing by opening the advanced search menu in Google and selecting KML from the filetype menu. In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate both methods of searching for Google Earth files. 


You can learn more search strategies and how to teach them in my on-demand webinar, Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Ten Ideas for Using Google Earth in Your Classroom

In this week's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter I mentioned that in my free handbook I have a list of ideas for using Google Earth in your classroom. If you're not subscribed to the newsletter or you are and you didn't have a chance to scroll through the handbook, here's an excerpt from the Practical Ed Tech Handbook. 

1. Take a tour of new and interesting places.
This is the most basic activity that you can do in Google Earth. The web and mobile versions of Google Earth have pre-made tours called "Voyages" that your students can view. Stops on the voyages include notes about the notable landmarks in the tour. The desktop version of Google Earth also has pre-made tours. You can also find tours made by others and use them in Google Earth.

2. Play Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
March of 2019 Google added a version of the classic computer game, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? to Google Earth. The game can be played in the web version of Google Earth as well as the iOS and Android versions. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? isn’t the only game or quiz you’ll find in Google Earth. You can find them all by opening the Voyages tab in Google Earth.

3. Take and or Create Literature Tours
Google Lit Trips is dedicated to helping teachers use Google Earth tours in literature lessons. In a literature trip students explore the places that are significant in a story and or the places that are significant in an author’s life. The desktop version of Google Earth has built-in tools for creating tours of landmarks around the world. The web version of Google Earth doesn't have the same tour recording tools.

4. Global scavenger hunts.
Create a scavenger hunt for students to complete by using clues and finding the answers "hidden" throughout the globe. This can be a fun way for students to test their knowledge of physical and human geography.

5. View a Timelapse of Coastline Changes.
Thanks to historical imagery available through the Google Earth Engine you can view historical satellite imagery in Google Earth.This allows viewers to see how things like coastlines have changed over time. You can piggyback on that visual to prompt students to investigate what makes a coastline change.

6. Map and Compare Datasets.
Mapping datasets can be a good way for students to create visualizations of species diversity and distribution or to see economic data as it relates to geography. It is possible to take a dataset that is in a CSV or Google Sheet and have that data appear in Google Earth. To do this you will first make a map in Google’s My Maps tool and then export a KML from My Maps to import into Google Earth.

7. Layer Images Over Maps.
The desktop version of Google Earth lets you layer images over a view of the world. Adjust your zoom level to cover more or less of the map with your image. Adjust the image's opacity to let the map faintly show through the image. This is a great way to show students a comparison of a historical map with a contemporary map. Try using this method to show how coastlines and waterways have changed over time.

8. Measure Distances for Math Lessons.
Google Earth includes tools for measuring distances in a variety of units. Students can use the measuring tool to complete activities designed to help them understand distance, scale, and units of measurement. Tom Barrett’s Maths Maps page is a good place to find lessons that incorporate measurement.

9. Explore the Moon or Mars.
The desktop version of Google Earth includes a moon view and a Mars view. Select the moon view or the Mars view then click on some of the placemarks in the NASA layer. Your students could even create a narrated tour of the moon or Mars.

10. Use Google Earth as an Alternative to PowerPoint.
The next time you're thinking about having students give a presentation on a place that they've studied in your geography lesson, have them create a Google Earth tour instead. They can use their custom placemarks shown in full size as an alternative to using slides.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

A New Collection of 17,000+ Historical Maps and Images

Flickr's The Commons is a great place to find all kinds of interesting historical photographs from museums and libraries all over the world. Recently, The British Library added a new collection of maps to Flickr's The Commons. The new collection is called the King's Topographical Collection and it contains more than 17,000 historical maps and images related to maps. 

The King's Topographical Collection is comprised of maps and drawings produced between 1500 and 1824. You can browse through, view, and download all of the maps and drawings in the collection. Unfortunately, the ability to search within the collection on Flickr is limited to just using "control+F" to search for words on the displayed page. When you do find something you like, click the download button on the image to save it in resolution of your choice. 

 
Applications for Education
The lack of a good search function is a limiting factor in using this collection in a meaningful way. That said, if you have the time to browse through it there could be some good materials to overlay onto Google Earth to make comparisons of historical maps and current maps. Of course, you could also just have students browse the collection to see if there is something that sparks their curiosity and then use that to jump into a little research activity.

Here's an overview of how to overlay historical imagery onto current Google Earth imagery. 



H/T to Open Culture.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

5 Digital Mapping Activities

On Monday I shared a couple of tutorials about measuring distances in Google Maps and Bing Maps. Yesterday, I shared a few resources for helping students understand map projections. This morning, I have some more tutorial videos that might help or inspire you to create digital mapping activities to use in your geography or history lessons. Here are five digital mapping activities you can do with elementary, middle, and high school students. 

Map Spreadsheet Data
The combination of Google Sheets and Google's My Maps tool makes it possible to quickly populate a map with information from a spreadsheet. I've done this to have students share research findings in a Google Form that then populates a Google Sheet that is then imported into Google's My Maps. Doing this eliminates the confusion that can occur when too many people try to edit the same map. Mapping spreadsheet data is also a good way for students to make correlations between information and its location in the world. Here's a short tutorial on how to map spreadsheet data. 


Create a Story Map
Storymap JS is a free tool that you can use to create a combination of a map and a timeline on the same page. This is a good way for students to make connections between historical events and their locations. Watch this short video to see how Storymap JS works. 


Label and or Color Maps in Google Jamboard
Google's Jamboard is a great tool that often gets overlooked in favor of other G Suite tools like Drawings and Slides. With Jamboard it is possible to insert a blank outline map then have students label or color it. Here's a demo of how that process works. 


Learn About Distance and Scale
Google Maps and Bing Maps both make it easy to measure the distance between two or more places. Just using the measuring tools can help some students get a better understanding of the size and scale of two or more locations. Try having your students guess at the size of two countries like the United States and China then have them measure to see how close they were. Tutorials on measuring in Google Maps and Bing Maps can be seen here

Compare Past and Present
In Google Earth there is some historical imagery available to view. You can also import historical maps found outside of Google Earth. Those historical maps that you import can then be overlaid on top of current map imagery. When you adjust the transparency of the imported map, you can make comparisons of historical maps and current map views. Here's an overview of how to import historic maps into Google Earth.