Friday, April 3, 2009

Check Out the New Google Earth

Google recently released its newest version of one of my favorite tech tools: Google Earth. This new release (Version 5) looks and works very similiarly to previous GE versions, but it includes some pretty cool new features:

  • A New "Ocean" Layer: Now you can fly underwater to learn about expeditions, shipwrecks, and marine life. (I don't think the underwater graphics are amazing, but I'm sure they will improve.)

  • Travel to Mars: Previous versions allowed you to explore Earth and Space, but now you can visit The Red Planet to see satellite and Rover images. There are some excellent guided tours located within the "Mars Gallery" layer.

  • View Changes Over Time: Use the new "historical imagery" feature to view how locations have changed throughout the last several decades--a great way to check out our impact on the environment.

  • Record Your Tour: We have always had the ability to create, save, and share "Placemarker" tours in Google Earth. Now, we have the ability to record narration, which gives students the ability to talk their way through their tours.

You can click on any of the titles above to see a short description of the feature. Or, click here to watch an overview of Google Earth 5.0.

5th Grade Teacher Nicole Enny recently attended an after school professional development class about Google Earth. She had been using the volcano layer in GE to teach her students about The Ring of Fire. After attending the class and learning about some of its new features, Nicole decided that she wanted her students to create a tour of different types of volcanoes around the world. She also wanted her students to record and narrate their tours so that they could be shared back in her classroom. Click here to watch one of their completed tours.

*Please note: You will need Google Earth Version 5 in order to watch the tour. Not sure if you have Version 5? You probably don't. Click here to download the newest version.

Here are some other awesome Google Earth resource pages:

Please let me know if you'd like my help with creating your own Google Earth Tour!


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