Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Google Earth Tours

by Olga LaPlante

There has been a lot said about using Google Earth to show places and look up things in relation to a location. We have already begun to take Google Earth for granted - some of us are still in awe, but most have been using it matter-of-factly, and unless a new feature pops up or is demoed at a workshop, we are sort of "yeah, yeah, seen that" about it.

It has also been a while that Google Earth has had the feature which allows you to add your own placemarks, insert images and text, create a sightseeing tour, by clicking on each of your recent places.

Google, however, is notorious for changing and improving things - should I mention the infamous streetview? - and today - thanks to a request from a teacher - I have discovered that you can now create narrated tours in Google Earth and share them using a Google Earth embed widget! That is a wow update.

This is very important to me as educational technology specialist on two levels. One is the creative/productive aspect of the tool. We have lots of things to watch or read; expressing yourself and producing a new mashup is not as widely-spread as we might think (hence the whole plagiarism and copyright violations issue). This tool incorporates the ability to share and create.

Secondly, I am simply excited because I already see the integration side of the Google Earth story. I am already planning future workshops, incorporating this tool, and I know they will be a blast.

Google has put up lots of helpful info on how to create, use and share layers from Google Earth, whether you use a narrated recorded tour feature or a placemark tour. These tutorials and lots of other relevant information can be found at Google Earth Outreach.

P.S. If you are one of those who have long discovered this, please be generous and allow for some excitement! :)

1 comment:

Debbie Reese said...

Innovations are terrific. I love 'em. I've done a lot, for example, with my blog. It's 'old' now (blogging).

One concern I have is that the curriculum itself has not kept pace with developments in technology. By that, I mean that a terrific tool like Google Earth can be used to replicate and affirm hundreds-year-old problems in the ways that American Indians are portrayed in books used in teaching settings.

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