Google Earth I have always found fascinating. It is sometimes hard to imagine how you can see places all over the world while sitting in you own lounge room. Although it is not as good as going the actual place it gives you a fantastic insight. Google Earth is also a great way to bring the world into the classroom. Its is a technology that can be used in many different ways to engage students in a learning experience. Google Earth allows teachers to include the three key components of Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory (1999) which are learning activities that occur in a group context, project-based or have an outside focus. There are so many learning experiences that can be created with the use of Google Earth. They can be group projects, mapping exercises, pair work or sessions that facilitate learning for the whole class.
I will defiantly be including Google Earth as apart of my planning over the next few months during my classes unit on Australian Animals. For example next week are we reading the book Possum Magic and using Google Earth to visit the places throughout the book. I think this will be an effective way to engage learners in the learning experience and begin to focus them on where the animals live around Australia.
As teachers in today's classroom we are faced with developing learning experiences for students whose lives are affected by technology every day. Siemens (2004) believes that technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and especially how we learn. For teachers this means that tools such as Google Earth provides a real connectivism for students in the classroom as students are able to relate and engage with technology more than traditional teaching methods.
Google Earth offers teachers a range of tools they can introduce to students in the classroom. I think it provides good engagement tools for students of all ages but would be especially more useful in older grades as the students would be able to use the technology themselves.
Google Earth is a fantastic tool and I will defiantly be utilising it in my teaching.
Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B (1999). Engagment Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from CQUniversity e-courses, FAHE11001 Acitive learning & learning diversity.
Siemens, G (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm