Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Go places with Google Earth!!

Well isn’t this an interesting piece of technology? Google Earth is a web application that allows the user to work with addressing, 3-D models, actual co-ordinates, directions and much more (Coombs, 2007). Through the use of satellite pictures the user can view earth from space, before zooming down onto almost any location and seeing it at a 3 dimensional street level (Chandler, 2008). This initial idea explored by Google Earth has now expanded to others; including Google Sky – for those interested in astrology – and Google Mars, which allows the user to get a closer view of the red planet. Before today I had only heard of Google Earth, but it never really sparked enough of an interest in me, for me to download it. After the reasonably quick download of this software and twenty minutes of looking at my house and other symbolic landmarks, I found myself growing a little bored with this software. It wasn’t until I started investigating its potential uses in education that it really opened my eyes; I began to grasp what this extraordinary technology can actually do.

Google has devoted an entire webpage - Getting Started Guide – to the display of ideas for educators, and the ways in which they can use Google Earth in their classroom (Google, 2009). Some of the ideas listed that grabbed my attention included the use of Google Earth to explore the distance between certain places, examine the tectonic plates shifting, or even to study the major land forms from around the world. Being in such a diverse classroom, I thought that it would be a great idea to place photos of the students on the map, to better show their peers the different countries they are from. This could lead to a unit in which the class could explore each of the countries. This provides a fantastic opportunity to developing a greater understanding and appreciation of their peers’ country of birth, and a better cultural understanding of the world around them. By providing tasks that are relevant and meaningful to the students, the engagement level of the class is likely to be at a higher level (Kearsley and Shneiderman, 1999). Overall, I would have to say that my first impressions of this technology were not great, however now I am already trying to think of ways that I could use this technology in my next day of teaching.


Chandler, E. (2008). Future of Google Earth. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18,2009, from

Coombs, T. and DeLeon, R. (2007). Google Power Tools Bible. Indiana, United States of America: Wiley Publishing Inc.

Google (2009). Google for Educators. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18,2009, from

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 17, 2009, from


  1. Hi Ben,
    Great to see your ideas about how to incorporate this wonderful e-learning tool within the classroom, I especially like the idea of showing your students photos of the different countries they are from. Did you know using Google earth students can view sunsets all around the world with the new sunset setting! Amazing isn’t it, I wish I had Google Earth when I was at school it would have made those boring geography and history lesson so much more exciting.


  2. Hi Katrina,

    Thanks for your comment. Yeah I did read somewhere about the sunsets feature and is definitely something i would like to look into further. Yes school would have been a lot more engaging if we had acess to some of these techn ologies. I wonder what year it was actually released, our teacher's probably could have used them but like us were either unaware or not confident in using the technology.



  3. Hi Ben,

    Did you also know that you can actually zoom below the surface of the ocean and study the underwater depth in the third dimension of a lake or ocean floor.


  4. Hi Lauren,

    I hadn't actually heard about that. It appears that this application has no limits. Thanks for the comment Lauren will have to look into this feature.