I teach Science in a high school in North-West Toronto. We have a fairly "applied" group of students, so i am always trying to think if authentic performance tasks for them to complete that compliment the curriculum in practical ways. One of the units in our Grade 10 Applied Science program is (was) Motion, covering topics such as Distance, Displacement, Speed, Velocity, Direction, etc. As a culminating performance task, students were to select a city in the United States and plan a 10 day trip there and back. Each student started by planning a route using real maps. Students had to decide how long they wanted to drive for each day, where they wanted to stop to rest and where they were going to sleep on route. They calculated speeds, distances, displacements, etc.
After planning the route basics, we went to the computer lab for a few days and planned the details of the trip on the computer. First, they used Google Earth to verify their calculations of distance and time. But, students were then able to use many of GE's other features to plan where they would sleep, where they would eat and what attractions they would see. Most students were able to link directly to the websites of hotels and attractions to get a general idea of cost.
In the end, students presented me with a scrapbook of their trip! This included all the information they researched, total cost to go, pictures of the places they stayed and visited, and even imagined stories of things that happened to them while away!
I must say, the assignment worked brilliantly. Students enjoyed the creativity of the assignment and benefited practically from learning how to plan a trip in every detail. And of course, i got to assess how well they understood main concepts in our unit. All thanks to Google Earth!
I wish I could give some examples of how we are using this great tool but unfortunately we are still in the process of figuring out how much of an effect Google Earth has on a district network. I work in a large district; we are fiber connected. We have had multiple tests with Google Earth and how it impacts the bandwidth. Our district uses a packeteer (sp?) to shape our bandwidth (streaming, media, general, etc.) It did seem to have an effect when we had 30 students go on at the same time looking up locations. Of course, 30 students would never be on at one time but it would be possible that 30 teachers in our large district may be using it for instruction at one time.
Can anyone give their experiences with their district using Google Earth and if there were any bandwidth issues that came with it. Is Google Earth on all machines, all staff machines, just certain machines? Thanks!
I am interested in lessons that integrate maps and mapping skills in students. Haven't had a chance to use Google Earth yet, but liked what I have seen. I have encouraged the use of mapping places and photos by students and teachers. Send me some information if you know anyone who can send my lessons, ideas and tips my way. Thanks!
I'm debating whether to use Google Earth or just stick with Google Maps for use in my 10th grade geography classes. So far just using maps and having great success...the ability for students to collaborate by creating a map and sharing it with others is key. Not sure how easy that is on GE. Main disadvantage of GE over GM seems to be downloading it on every machine, and it seems to run slowly on my comps. Main feature of GE that GM lacks seems to be the flying mode.