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40+ ideas on using Google Earth and Maps in the classroom

These are some teaching ideas to accompany the Digital Explorer presentations at the Playful Learning Zone at BETT this year. Come and see us to find out more.

First things first, if you don’t have Google Earth, download it for your own computer and then be sure to pester the IT office to download it for your school. See the Digital Explorer research if you need to make a case to senior management. To use Google Maps fully you will need to have a Google account, sign up if you haven’t already.

Virtual Atlas
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BETT Google Earth and Google Maps presentation

Here’s a copy of the presentation to accompany the talks at the Playful Learning Zone at this year’s BETT show.

This year, we talked about how to progress with using Google Earth and Google Maps in the classroom all the way from using them as virtual atlases to using them as a base for local area projects and recording school trips and projects.

For a range of teaching ideas across the curriculum see the post 40+ ideas on using Google Earth and Maps in the classroom.

Digital Explorer work enhances geographical understanding for 80%

A recent report on the impact of Digital Explorer’s two year programme to improve the use of technology in the geography classroom has resulted in 80% of teachers involved noting an improvement in pupil engagement and understanding.

This is fantastic news and shows the positive impact that technology can have. A full copy of the report can be downloaded.

Google Earth Expedition Gallery #4 – Marrakech Land Use

This fourth entry in Digital Explorer’s Google Earth gallery is where it all started with a study of urban land use in Marrakech with pupils from Eastbury Comprehensive in 2006 on the Toubkal ’06 expedition.

rgs logo The use of Google Earth and remote blogging received an Innovative Geography Teaching Grant from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

next generation learning logo

This work is also held up as a national case study by BECTA’s Next Generation Learning project.

ge link icon Download the Google Earth tour – Marrakech Land Use

You will need Google Earth to view the tour. If you don’t have Google Earth, you can download it for free:

download google earth

Contact Digital Explorer, if you would like to make a Google Earth tour for your expedition or fieldwork.

Google Earth Expedition Gallery #3 – Antarctic Education Videos

The third entry in Digital Explorer’s Google Earth gallery features educational videos made during the E-Base Goes Live Expedition. More educational resources about Antarctica can be found at 2041′s Education Site.

ge link icon Download the Google Earth tour – Antarctic Education Videos

You will need Google Earth to view the tour. If you don’t have Google Earth, you can download it for free:

download google earth

Contact Digital Explorer, if you would like to make a Google Earth tour for your expedition or fieldwork.

Google Earth Expedition Gallery #2 – E-Base Video Story

This is the second entry in a series of expedition based Google Earth tours from Digital Explorer. We will be publishing a new tour everyday for the next couple of weeks. The E-Base video story Google Earth tour allows you to follow the E-Base Goes Live Expedition day-by-day with geo-located videos, as the team work to put up wind turbines in Antarctica.

ge link icon Download the Google Earth tour – E-Base Video Story

You will need Google Earth to view the tour. If you don’t have Google Earth, you can download it for free:

download google earth

Contact Digital Explorer, if you would like to make a Google Earth tour for your expedition or fieldwork.

Google Earth Expedition Gallery #1 – Living in Antarctica

This is the first tour in the Google Earth Expedition Gallery from Digital Explorer. Follow the team from Digital Explorer, npower and 2041, as they find about life in Antarctica during their time on King George Island on the E-Base Goes Live Expedition in March 2009.

ge link icon Download the Google Earth tour – Living in Antarctica

You will need Google Earth to view the tour. If you don’t have Google Earth, you can download it for free:

download google earth

Contact Digital Explorer, if you would like to make a Google Earth tour for your expedition or fieldwork.

GE Graph in schools – tech notes

For those of you wishing to use the free and excellent GE Graph program in schools, there are a couple of technical notes to point out. These have been kindly provided by John Watson the IT technician from Wildern School who helped with the two Southampton Google Earth courses.

These may mean nothing to you, but pass on this information to the people responsible for installing GE Graph on the school network and it should help with most glitches.

The .ocx file needed registering. Oddly enough installing the suggested app was enough.. we didn’t even have to run it.

GE graph needs read/write access to the Drive it is installed on. For networked machines this may be a problem as most administrators restrict access to the local drives. Allowing read/write on the GE graph folder was enough for it to run unaffected on our network.

Using Google Earth – technical hitches and what to do

This is a follow-up post to the recent Google Earth courses in London, Belfast and Edinburgh.

During these courses a number of technical issues arose that can present a barrier to implementing Google Earth successfully in the classroom. Here’s a list of the issues and what to do…

Installing Google Earth
Google Earth is free to download from earth.google.com. In Northern Ireland, the free version is available via C2K. In other areas, consult your school IT support. If your IT is managed by RM, there is a blueprint available from the RM website (this will make sense to your school IT support).

Using Internet Explorer to open images
I wrongly assumed that all Internet Explorer settings would be the same for opening images from the heard drive. If you cannot see the file path and name of the image you would like to insert into a placemark description when you use Internet Explorer, you will need to make the following changes:

  • in the top menu, select ‘View’ > ‘Toolbars’ > ‘Address Bar’
  • the ‘Address Bar’ may now appear in full or as a grey box in the top left hand corner
  • try to ‘drag’ the grey box down show it show in full
  • if this does not seem to work, right click the grey box and click on ‘Lock the Toolbars’ to remove the tick and try again

Google Earth slows up or the screen is grey
This is a network issue. If you have an important lesson with a class of pupils accessing Google Earth at the same time, you should warn your IT support in school in advance and they will help you manage the network to maximise your chances of a trouble-free lesson. If the screen does go grey, simply close Google Earth and restart the application (NB remember to save any work first).

Images show as grey boxes in placemark descriptions
This can be for a number of reasons. Check the manual and your notes to make sure that you have typed the correct code. It can also be because of ‘zip’ settings on your local network. KMZ files require Google Earth to ‘unpack’ the images associated with your KMZ files. There may be settings in place that will stop this from happening. These are in place as a number of computer viruses are sent as ‘zip’ files. Talk to your IT support if this seems to be a problem.

Complete meltdown, confusion or panic
Please do comment or contact Digital Explorer if you have any other problems.

Google Earth in the classroom

I have just got back from running a Google Earth course in Edinburgh and two last week in Belfast. The next two weeks have two courses in Birmingham, two in Newcastle and two in Southampton.

I thought I would make things easier for teachers who have been / are coming on courses, by adding links to some previous posts about using Google Earth in the classroom and specifically about the whole Google Earth Plus / Pro license situation for UK schools.

Click here for the post about obtaining a free Google Earth Pro license for your school

Click here to read more about purchasing Google Earth Plus licenses for your school

If you would like access to resources connected to Google Earth training see the training pages.

There is also information, resources and a video about using Google tools to do fieldwork in the school grounds.

Thank you to all the participants over the past two weeks. There have been a few technical issues with using Google Earth in an educational networked environment and I will blog about these separately.

Here’s what course participants have created…

Participant Google Earth files, Belfast Course 04/11/2008

Participant Google Earth files, Edinburgh Course 11/11/2008

Please do comment with any more thoughts on how to apply the course content in the classroom or on expedition. Also, please comment with any suggestions about fieldwork areas that do not have high resolution imagery and could be updated to enable Google Earth to be used effectively. No promises about any changes, but I’ll pass the information on!

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