Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Google Earth – Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego??

I recently downloaded Google Earth which allows the user to fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others (Google, 2009).

I must admit I was thinking fairly small-minded when it came to using this tool in the classroom, however, after reading Google Earth for Educators I saw it in a whole new light. (Always a learner!). When I thought of using this tool, all I could remember learning about the world from my schooling days was the game Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? How much would the students love setting up a Lit Trip while playing that game? (Old school reference).

I was pleased to find a Possum Magic Lit Trip. Combining Google Earth with literature (LitTrip) allows teachers to come up with activities that are highly creative for their students. This Lit Trip primarily aimed at the early year classes, focuses on the locations and foods featured in Mem Fox’s Possum Magic. This tool would be a great way to take the students thinking further after reading and studying Possum Magic. It could help the students find examples of geographic features described in the book, all around Australia. The lit trip also featured which food was eaten and in what town and even a link to the recipes. By using Google Earth students’ global awareness along with their vocabulary will be expanded.

Engagement theory does promote interaction, but human interaction in the context of group activities, not individual interaction with an instructional program (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). I agree with the engagement theory and believe that Google Earth as a learning tool would be greatly beneficial when used as a discussion point in groups or as a whole class. I think it would be great for students to explore the tool, but then come together and share what they have found.

I understand that my knowledge of this tool is somewhat limited and the example I have used is only for the early years. However, I am excited to learn how this tool can be used more and with the older year levels.

Til next time,



Google (2009) Google Earth: Retrieved August 19th, 2009, from

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory:. Retrieved August 19th, 2009, from

1 comment:

  1. My husband has just informed me of a game that ran in promotion for the latest Tomb Raider Game. The public had to use Google Earth to play the game. Basically, you visit the site and are presented each day with a clue. You then have to hunt on the Earth to find the location provided by the clue. If you guess right, after you zoom in close enough, you will see an orange Tomb Raider icon. When you see that, you've found the answer! You were to click on it and you will be congratulated on deciphering the clue, and can submit your name and E-mail to see if you were first. This game was huge and there were some serious prizes up for grabs. But, you know it’s a tool your students will be engaged by! It may take some time to think up questions and find a pinpoint for you students to find, but it is the language of the digital natives. Get thinking!!!!