Sunday, May 7, 2017

10 Ways to Use Google Earth in Your Classroom

A couple of weeks ago Google released the new web-based version of Google Earth (take a tour of it here). The older desktop version of Google Earth is still available for free as well. The advantage of the web-based version is that anyone with a Chromebook or laptop can use it. The disadvantage to it is that it doesn't have as many features as the desktop version. Both versions have a place in the classroom. Here are ten ways you might have your students use Google Earth in your classroom.

1. Take a tour of new and interesting places.
This is the most basic activity that you can do either version of Google Earth. The new version has many 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 some pre-made tours. You can also find tours made by others and use them in Google Earth. Watch this video to learn how to do that.

2. 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.

3. Create tours. 
The desktop version of Google Earth has built-in tools for creating tours of landmarks around the world (watch this video to learn how). The web version of Google Earth doesn't have the same tour recording tools, but you can use this option for creating placemarks and this option for creating a tour. Over the years I've had students create Google Earth tours of Civil War battle sites, the significant places in a person's life, and places that they want to visit some day. Google Lit Trips is dedicated to helping teachers use Google Earth tours in literature lessons.

4. View comparisons.
Use this method for creating placemarks in the new Google Earth and you can show multiple data sets in one map.

5. 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.

6. Measure distances.
The desktop version of Google Earth includes a measurement tool.

7. Explore the moon. 
The desktop version of Google Earth includes a moon view. Select the moon view and view some of the placemarks in the NASA layer.

8. Explore Mars. 
You can explore Mars and through the use of the NASA layer in the desktop version of Google Earth.

9. Watch a timelapse of imagery. 
The desktop version of Google Earth has a timeline slider that you can use to see historical imagery of some cities.

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.

We'll be taking an in-depth look at a few of these features in Teaching History With Technology

7 Ways to Use Google Keep in Your Classroom

This week's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week featured a demonstration of how to use Google Keep to annotate images. That is just one of many ways that you and your students can use Google Keep. G Suite for Education users, remember that Google Keep is now a core product in G Suite.

1. Create bookmarks with Google Keep.

2. Add Google Keep notes and bookmarks to your Google Documents.

3. Use Feedly with Google Keep on your Android device.

4. Use Google Keep and Feedly in your web browser to keep track of news stories.

5. Share notes and task lists through Google Keep.

6. Use Google Keep to help you work toward your goals.

7. Annotate images in Google Keep on Chromebooks and on Android devices.

Phishing Explained by Common Craft

Last week's viral Google Docs phishing scam provided a good reminder to many that we should always give a critical eye to emails and social media posts that don't look quite right. It also served as a reminder that we need to educate students and, sometimes, our colleagues about phishing attempts. Common Craft has an excellent video on the topic. You can watch the video as embedded below or on the Common Craft website.

On a related note, if you get a Facebook friend request from someone you're already friends with, it's likely a scam. Your best bet is to delete the request. But for some folks it's an opportunity to have fun with a scammer as one of my friends recently did when she suspected a scam. See the screenshot below for an explanation.

Disclosure: Common Craft videos require a subscription to be used in classrooms. I have an in-kind business relationship with Common Craft. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Connecticut where we're visiting my brother and my newest niece. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon attempting to get a picture of Isla and my niece, Kierra, looking at the camera at the same time. We were unsuccessful in that effort, but we had fun trying. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you're having some fun too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 7 Google Product Updates You Might Have Missed in April
2. How to Create a Google Classroom With a Gmail Account
3. Kahoot Announces New Windows 10 Apps
4. Check123 - A Video Encyclopedia
5. 5 Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About World War II
6. 5 Resources for Learning About Aviation - How Airplanes Fly
7. Chromebook Camp & BYOD Camp Discounts Extended

Looking for a keynote or workshop? Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

I am offering five different online courses over the next four months.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
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WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
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PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Two Free Apps for Capturing Immersive Imagery

In 5 Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About World War II I mentioned that I captured some photospheres at the WWII Museum in New Orleans. I created those photospheres for use in virtual reality viewers. The tools that I used for creating those photospheres were the Google Cardboard Camera app and the Google Street View app. Both apps are available for Android and iOS.

With the Cardboard Camera app installed on your phone or tablet you can capture 360 degree panoramic imagery. If you choose to keep your phone's microphone turned on, you can capture sound with your imagery. To capture imagery simply open the app, tap the camera icon, then start recording. Slowly move your phone from left to right and turn 360 degrees to completely capture the images around you. Cardboard Camera will tell you if you are moving too quickly or too slowly. Once you've captured your imagery you can view it through the Cardboard Viewer. It is possible to make your own Cardboard Viewer.

The Google Street View app lets you create true 360 degree photospheres. You can use the app to publish images that you capture with a spherical camera. If you don't have a spherical camera you can use the camera in your phone to capture 360 degree photospheres with guidance from the Street View app. When you use your phone's camera to capture imagery through the app, you will see small targets appear on your screen. Line your camera to those targets as you pan horizontally and vertically. The photosphere that you create can be saved privately or you can publish it to Google Maps.

Applications for Education
If you teach social studies, you shouldn't go anywhere interesting without one or both of these apps installed on your phone. These apps make it easy to create immersive imagery of notable landmarks or interesting museum displays to share with your students.