Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Views on Google Earth...

Hands up who has not used Google Earth (not too many I am guessing), be it for educational reasons or just for fun. A view of the whole world on your computer is only a click away with Google Earth. This web tool is not limited to just viewing world destinations in 3-D imagery, it also has valuable educational purposes such as:
· Enticing students to become interested in subjects such as geography (e.g. students can explore the Earth’s land surfaces and underwater views , as well as the surfaces of the Moon and Mars)
· Impact studies e.g., the impact of civilisation and natural disaster upon our planet (using historical views).
· Use in math classes e.g. using measurement tools such as longitude, latitude and the distance tool.
· Engaging students in class topics with the use of multimedia links.
· Using Google Sky (linked to Google Earth) for astronomy classes.
· Uploading field trip multimedia clips to Google Earth for future reference.
· Use in science and marine biology projects e.g., volcano and reef watch (NOAA, 2009).
· Assisting and benefiting visual/audio based learners

The educational uses for this tool are only limited by the imagination of the user. Google Earth is very user friendly and users of all ages could master this tool in a limited amount of time.

Used wisely, Google Earth would be a useful tool to motivate and engage students in meaningful learning. As Mclnerney and Mclnerney (2006) point out there is a relationship between motivation and constructivism. The importance of constructivism is demonstrated by The Student Motivation and Engagement Wheel developed by Martin (2003, as cited in Mclnerney & Mclnerney, 2006). The wheel illustrates clearly that, students without motivation towards learning will decline from a self-efficacy (confidant, able to face real world problems) stage to a disengagement (giving up) stage.
Jim Price

Mclnerney, D. M, & Mclnerney, V. (2006). Educational psychology constructing learning. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearsons Education Australia.
NOAA. (2009). Coral reef watch. Retrieved August 3, 2009, from http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/ge/index.html


  1. Hi Jim,

    You have some fantastic suggestions on how to incorporate Google Earth into the classroom. To tell the truth i was really only considering the "viewing world destinations in 3-D imagery" aspect of it and not the wider purposes.

    Thank you for such an insightful post and i look forward to hearing from you again soon.
    Kerri : )

  2. Hi Kerri,
    Thanks for the comment. I enjoyed playing around with Google Earth. I was surprised how much you can do with it.

  3. Hi Jim,
    Nice to know there is another chef out there doing the same thing I am - training to be a teacher! Out of one fry pan into another.
    I like your ideas for Google Earth, even though geography was one of my favorite subjects at school and I loved looking at all types of maps etc, I will always remember those kids in the class were bored out of there brains. Google Earth 20 years ago would have engaged those student and introduced them to the world.

  4. Dear Jim

    Your blog posting was very enlightening.

    I am yet to do the 'google earth' bit of our course but have used it in the past just to satisfy my curiosity.

    I had no idea that there are also pictures available of the moon and under water. Your information has stimulated me to consider many uses of the site in designing learning experiences for students in the classroom.