Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Episode 53 "The Vertical Challenge"

Wicked Decent Learning Podcast

Learning in Maine Social Network

The Learning in Maine Blog/Wiki is nearly one and a half years old now, having started at the annual Castine Tech Conference a couple of summers ago. Just learning how to walk and talk. Today a Ning social network is being added to the mix. Do feel free to join and to add discussion topics and comments.

Learning in Maine Social Network

Monday, January 12, 2009

TelstarToo: Learning & Technology Projects

Monday, November 12, 3:30 - 7:30

Online Mapping Getting Down to Earth

by Ed Latham

I had an OMG moment this morning as I was looking up an address for an appointment I have this week. I navigated over to google's fine mapping program and plugged in the address and sure enough a nice map was presented. I zoomed in to see the streets around the location to get my bearing and noticed that a little yellow people icon was present on the left side of my map. Being the curious button pusher I am I clicked on the little guy (sorry it may be a girl but looks like the guy on the bathroom doors) and dragged him to the location I was looking at. The screen when blank for a bit and then .... WHAM ... I was there at that location and was able to look around with 360 degree view! I was astounded. Sure it was photos of summer and we are under three feet of snow right now, but I can still see the buildings, trees, telephone poles and even a police officer pulling over a driver that saw his rights on the road a bit differently.

I had to check if my little bungalow out in the sticks was a virtual tourist trap yet. Typing in my very remote location, I was shocked to see that they had a road virtually in there that was less than 1/2 mile from my house. This got me anxious to see where in the world I could see. I went to Europe (virtually of course, I can't afford plane fare) and found that not all of the countries were available for this street level view, but some of the major ones were. I suspect there are many legal issues Google has to clear with each country before they can post such detailed pictures.

I keep hearing requests for virtual field trips and I see this street level access as yet another free resource for schools to take advantage of. Oh how my Geography classes would have so much more interesting to me with this tool available. I can see the building styles, the types of cars, the layout of the streets and surroundings and can see almost every tourist attraction in the world; What power!

Seems to many options for how a tool like this can be used. What do you think this might be good for? Does it go too far into privacy (they sure did not ask my technophobic parents if they minded their remote house way out in the woods was able to be posted)? Should a school ever have to buy a map again? Are maps even necessary any more with all the geography tools out there now?