Google Earth is a fantastic tool, especially for educational purposes. Using Google Earth facilitates the opportunity for students to participate in authentic learning experiences as they are able to see the world as if they themselves are in the chosen location (Marzano, et al., 1997). This technology could be used in several ways in the classroom, the following is simply one of the various ways Google Earth could be used in the classroom.
In groups of three, learners will receive a secret envelope with a longitude and latitude measurement. They are to find this location, take a picture of it and paste it into Microsoft Word. They must then record the location next to the picture and the weather. They are to then use Google to research the location, and create a paragraph of interesting facts about that location. Each group will then present their location to the class.
This technology, Google Earth, is compatible with Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory due to its engaging, authentic, and in this case, collaborative nature (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1998). Although this specific activity is not meaningful to someone outside the classroom, it is meaningful to learners inside the classroom as learners are required to donate their findings to their class. This increases the compatibility of Google Earth with the Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1998).
Kearsley, G., & Sheiderman, B. (1998). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 13, 2009 from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
Marzano, R, J., Pickering, D, J., Arredondo, D, E., Blackburn, G, J., Brandt, R, S., Moffett, C, A., Paynter, D, E., Pollock, J, E., & Whisler, J, S. (1997). Dimensions of Learning Teachers Manual (2nd ed.). Victoria, Australia: Hawker Brownlow Education.