I love hearing how teachers are using Geo Tools with their students to make learning real and authentic. Seventh Grade Social Studies Teacher Micah Shippee worked with over 100 students at Liverpool Middle School on the Liverpool Cemetery Mapping project. Students researched, photographed, and digitally-labeled gravestones in the Liverpool Cemetery and then completed a custom Google Map complete with historical profiles for over 30 gravesites.
The project was then converted with the Wikitude app (https://www.wikitude.com/), an augmented reality (AR) program, that used the student-created Google Map content. Through the use of the free Wikitude App installed on a device, visitors to the cemetery can determine the location of each gravesite, how far they have to walk to see them, and the historical profiles for each site. You can be assured those middle school students took their families to see their virtual walking tour.
I am thinking of combining 360 PhotoSphere images with Google Maps & Wikitude to make a virtual tour of our school campus — or perhaps a scavenger hunt and have users fill out a Google form with their answers.
GE Teach (https://www.geteach.com) was developed by high school Geography teacher Josh Williams. This tool allows students to compare two maps side-by-side as a way compare data sets from physical geography (physical features, land temperature, precipitable water, carbon dioxide, etc.) and human geography (population density, economy, human development, etc.). This would be a fabulous tool for social studies students and have them compare maps and use critical thinking skills to explain how or why physical geography impacts human geography conditions.
When I attended the 2017 CA Google Geo Institute last July, I was introduced to the idea of using embedded 360 photos to engage students in the real world. I had already played around with PhotoSpheres before and created this 360 photo of my school library using the Google Street View app on my iPhone.
With the Street View App, you stand in the middle of the room and slowly spin around while the app takes multiple images of the space then stitches them together to make this 360 image. It works fine if there are no moving people in the room (look closely at the circulation desk!). Use Google Street View with your students to immerse themselves in places they have never been.
When you visit Google Maps or Google Earth, click on the yellow Pegman in the corner to show the blue lines for Street View images, blue dots for uploaded PhotoSpheres, and yellow dots for the ability to see inside select buildings and museums. Students will enjoy discovering PhotoSpheres from all over.
What really blew me away at the CA Google Geo Institute was learning how to use the Ricoh Theta 360 camera to take an instantaneous 360 photo or video. We created walking tours around the Google campus and embedded our photos into Google maps. I purchased a camera with plans to help my students make a 360 walking tour of our school campus — but I needed to learn how to use it first.
Here are the directions on how to set up the Theta app on your phone so you can take remote photos and have them transferred to your device. I’ve learned you need to be careful with exposure and you definitely need a tripod for shooting the photos.
Some 360 resources from #CAGTI17
Walk With Us project – uses WalkInto, 360’ cameras and Google Street View to help high school youths to share about their upbringing, culture, and traditions, and to discuss the issues that affect them
This past July, I had the privilege to attend the Google Geo Institute at the Mountain View headquarters. 75 educators from all over the US spent three days learning about Google’s Geo Tools and how to implement them in the classroom. I had attended the Geo Institute back in 2013 but the tools have changed so much that I wanted an update.
It was great to really dive into the newly updated Google Earth (https://earth.google.com/web). Students can travel the world and explore new places using a web browser – no download required! They can see places like exotic cities, landmarks in 3D and buildings from close up using Street View. Photospheres are 360-degree photos that provide real views of our world – even the International Space Station!
A great way to pique student’s interest in exotic places is using a feature called Voyager. Voyager is a collection of map-based tours written by Google Earth partners that provide guided stories on topics like travel, culture, nature, and history.
There is power in students creating their own maps to help them visualize information or tell a story. Students can use Google Tour Builder (https://tourbuilder.withgoogle.com/) to write place-based stories that follow a journey on a map. The addition of multiple images and videos can make the journey come to life.
I have used Google My Maps (https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/) because it allows multiple students to collaborate on an interactive map together. Here is a simple example showing famous landmarks in Oregon.
How about taking students on virtual field trips to engage their curiosity? Google Expeditions allows students to swim with the sharks, visit outer space, or walk through a museum without leaving the classroom. Each participant will need a mobile device that fits into a virtual-reality (VR) viewer. Teachers then can choose from over 500 Google Expeditions (http://mrcaffrey.com/google-expeditions-world-map/) to share with their students. Get some lesson ideas on using Expeditions (and others) at https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/google.
Here are some additional geography resources that I learned about at the 2017 CA Geo Institute or were shared by attendees: