Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Google Maps and Google Earth

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Google Maps and Google Earth - another terrific tool out there for implementation in the classroom. (Are we noticing a theme in this blog - ICTs are fantastic for use in the classroom on many levels!)

As Google (2009) themselves state, "Google's satellite imagery-based mapping product puts the whole world on a student's computer. It enables users to "fly" from space to street level to find geographic information and explore places around the world. Like a video game and a search engine rolled into one, Earth is basically a 3D model of the entire planet that lets you grab, spin and zoom down into any place on Earth."

In the classroom, teachers can help their students learn about spatial awareness, features of the globe, landforms, population density and the list goes on. Students could compare and contrast features of where they live with another place in the world. Google Earth is real for students and allows them to explore in authentic contexts.

Google Maps is another tool brought to you by Google. Like Google Earth, there are many, many different ways this tool can be utilised in the classroom. Teaching lessons about mapping, directions, recognising landmarks and street names, planning excursions, creating their own paths from one point to another is just the beginning. Google maps also allows for users to attach photos to their custom made maps to show places of interest.

Google Maps and Google Earth are so interactive and real to life, that they could be used by students who may not be able to attend school excursions. Students could map out where they are going on their excursion, adding photos, text and other relevant information to share with their peers. When doing this though, students will need to be aware of what images they are making public as these can not be privatised on Google Maps. By having all of these interactive features, Google Maps provide an engaging and authentic way for students to learn (see how this relates to Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory here).

As a future professional in the educational field, I believe I will find these ICTs an extremely useful tool. They sure beat opening up an atlas! (Not to mention catering for the engagement of learners in the classroom and extending past plotting maps and excursions on paper).


Google (2009) For Educators: Google Earth. Accessed 29 July 2009 on the World Wide Web:

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