Get Your Google Earth Going

There are so many innovative ways to use Google Earth with your students. Some of these may be familiar to you, but hopefully some are new and will help you improve upon a unit with your students.

Some of the educators behind these amazing projects are Thomas Cooper, Jerome Burg and Carol LaRow

Google Lit Trips
Each trip is an interactive multimedia experience created using Google Earth and stored as a KMZ file. (Although they may sound complex, KMZ files that run Google Earth are relatively easy to create and navigate.) Following Burg’s lead, teachers and students are creating their own virtual literary trips and sharing them with the online community.

Investigating Earthquakes Using Real Time Data
Students learn to how to integrate the use of real-time web-based technology in trying to solve a problem earthquakes cause scientists every day, earthquake forecasting.

Google Historical Voyages and Events
This site is dedicated to the explorers, voyages, events, and historical backgrounds of countries throughout the World. We’d like to hear about famous explorers who surveyed or traveled through your community long ago. Perhaps you’d like to tell us about historical events that shaped your locale or region. You may wish to report about a catastrophic event in your area. Or, you may want to tell us how your community was founded, its historical background, early settlers. Every community, every town, every country has a past, and we’d like to hear about yours.

Real World Math
This site is all about using Google Earth in the math classroom. Within this site you will find lesson ideas, examples, and downloads for mathematics that embrace active learning, constructivism, and project-based learning

Sally Ride Science Content for Google Earth
Take an educational tour through the universe beyond our own solar system with this preview of “It’s Astronomical!”, a series of books created and published by Sally Ride Science. Sally Ride Science is dedicated to fueling girls’ and boys’ interests in science, math and technology.

Google Earth Lessons
This site includes some how-to’s and lessons for your students in science, geography and math.

Google Earth Classroom Resources
From the folks at Google: popular methods to implement Google Earth in the classroom for a variety of subjects.

GoAPES Wiki
Thomas Cooper lists here the many collaborative Google Earth projects he has worked on with his students over the last few years.

I hope you find one or more of these projects and ideas helpful. I’m sure I missed many, so feel free to leave a comment with a link.

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What MY Droid Does – Part 6

QR Code for this post

One of the fantastic features of the Android phones is the ability to scan QR Codes. So, what’s a QR Code, you ask? My way of explaining it is that a QR Code is a symbol that stores a URL. When your camera phone scans it using a barcode scanner (link), it automatically launches its browser and goes to that web page. This is really convenient when shopping, viewing a website (this is the QR Code for this post is to the left), or even Geocaching.

You can make your own QR Codes easily. SO EASILY.

1. Copy and paste the following URL into your browser (don’t hit ENTER yet…)
http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=qr&chs=150×150&choe=UTF-8&chld=H&chl=
2. At the end of the URL (after the “=” sign), paste or type in the URL that you want your QR Code to link to – my QR Code linked to https://thumannresources.com/2010/04/22/what-my-droid-does-part-6/
3. Hit the ENTER button
4. Save the QR Code image to your hard drive (or some other location)
5. Once someone scans this QR Code, it will take them to your specified URL. (Go ahead. Try it. Scan my QR Code.)

For more information on QR Codes see:

Source: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/

Then there’s the recent release of Google Earth for the Android phone. It works really well on my Droid. I will say, though, that I would only use it in an areawith 3G. Of course I wanted to see my house, so I went to the menu and selected my location and went to my house – and then pinched my fingers to zoom in. I then went back to the menu and clicked on the Search menu and used the voice feature to search for Disney Land. Once there I tapped the “Look Around” button and changed my view so that I could get a good look around. I also went back to the main menu and explored the different layers to see what types of information were available.

You can visit the Google Earth for your Mobile phone on the web at http://www.google.com/mobile/earth/ or directly on your phone at http://m.google.com/earth.

Oh, and here’s the QR Code for Google Earth in the Android Apps Market:

QR Code for Google Earth

Lastly, I’ve been using Seesmic on my Droid. I had been noticing that many were Tweeting from it, so I thought I would give it a try. The mobile version of Seesmic seems to be a full featured application. It has:

  • Easy access to Twitter Lists that I’ve created and that follow me
  • A tutorial built right into the application
  • You can manage your profile from within the app
  • Varied selection of external services (photos, URL shorteners, video hosts)
  • Options for notifications

Here’s the QR Code for Seesmic in the Android Apps Market:

QR Code for Seesmic

What My Droid Does – Part 5

If you are a Droid owner, you should have by now received your system update. It came with some pretty cool enhancements like:

  • New support for voice-to-text entry – tap on the microphone whenever a text-entry box appears on the virtual keyboard and speak (this has worked fairly well for me)
  • New Gallery application with 3D layout. (This reminds me of http://www.cooliris.com/)
  • Supposedly there’s a new night mode in Google Maps Navigation that automatically changes
    the screen at night to adjust to the lighting, but I haven’t had a chance to try it.
  • Read about the rest on the .pdf that Verizon sent out to Droid owners here.

Also, If you haven’t already, take a look at the Google for Android web page. Your Android powered phone most likely came with these applications already installed, but here you can find videos, more information or even the link to download the mobile app should you want it. Some of the applications listed here are:

Many of us have been waiting for Skype to come to the Android phone. Actually, I have blogged about using Skype Lite on my Droid to use the chat feature of Skype, but this is the full application – WITH ONE THING MISSING. Verizon has set the limitation that you can only use Skypemobile on the 3G network. So if you thought you were going to save on data charges by using your wifi to make Skype-to-Skype calls, it’s not going to happen.

Here are the Terms of Service that come up when you go to install it on your phone:

“Skype mobile is available within the National and Extended National Enhanced Services Coverage Areas, but not when using WiFi. Skype mobile features may vary from Skype on your PC. Domestic calls made from Skype mobile are carried by Verizon Wireless, not Skype, and are billed according to your Verizon Wireless plan. Skype calls to international numbers are billed by Skype at Skype international rates. Calls to 911 will be completed by Verizon Wireless. Skype mobile is not available when using per-line or per-call caller ID blocking. In the event of a conflict between these Verizon Wireless Skype mobile Terms and the Skype EULA, Skype TOS, or any other applicable terms, the provisions of the Verizon Wireless Skype mobile Terms shall apply.”

Yet, this is pretty cool as I communicate with many educators via Skype that I don’t have cell phone number for, and now I can talk to them without being tethered to a laptop/desktop.

I know from some Tweets I’ve seen that many Android users have been waiting for a version of Tweetdeck for the Android to be released. In the meantime, we have HootSuite. As listed on their site, here are some of the benefits of HootSuite that I would utilize when away from my laptop. (Actually, I frequently recommend Hootsuite to educators that use Twitter in school but don’t have the administrative rights to install Tweetdeck to their computers.)

  • Managing multiple identities and accounts
  • Creating custom views for tags and searches
  • Adding followers to lists and accounts
  • Sharing photos and shortening URLs

There’s a paid version for $2.99  and then the HootSuite for Android Lite for free.

ChaCha Droid

ChaCha – this neat little app allows you to query by voice and returns the answers by text right on your screen. Some of us have used ChaCha in the past by calling their 1-800 number or using a text message to send our question in, but this bypasses that process and the bonus is you can query by voice. I tried a few with success. If you go to the ChaCha Droid for Android page, their is a QR Code you can scan and install the app on your phone.

If you were a user of wpToGo to edit your WordPress blog from your Android phone, you may want upgrade to the new and improved WordPress for Android app. I don’t typically post from my Droid, but I will approve and reply to comments right from the WordPress for Android application. wpToGo is going to be discontinued, so upgrade soon. Here’s their video:

Google Buzz for the Android used to be just a web shortcut. Now there’s a widget that can be added to your Android desktop one of two ways. The first way is you can find it in the Android Market. The second way is you can scan the QR Code.   I scanned the code using my Barcode Scanner and then it brought me to the Google Buzz Widget.

I read the four points listed on the installation screen

  • Quickly post buzz publicly or privately
  • Add photos to your post from the camera or gallery
  • Share your location or place
  • Quickly access buzz.google.com

and realized that this widget was for posting to Buzz and not for staying connected to your Buzz contacts. So I went back to the site to read some of the comments. There was some concern about this as well as it not working on all Android phones and a desire for the QR Code (which had been added). Still, if you are using Buzz, this is a handy widget to have.

www.cooliris.com/

Thanks @tombarrett for the “Interesting Ways To Use” Series

I’ve been meaning to collect these awesome Google Presentations all in one place. I actually was talking about it with the group of teachers I was working with yesterday as I shared the Google Docs presentation with them. Then, this morning, I saw this Tweet from a new follower.

brownswordI new immediately what Miss Brownsword was referring to and went right to Tom Barrett’s blog where he had posted all 12 of his Interesting Ways To Use series. I had contributed to a few of them in their early stages, but I was not aware of some of the newer ones, or how lengthy some of them had gotten.

Though you can visit Tom’s blog to see these fabulous resources, you can Google them, find them in my Delicious and Diigo bookmarks, I’ve also decided to list them here. Take a look. Perhaps even contribute. (Thanks, Tom, for setting up these collaborative resources.)

21 Interesting Ways To Use Google Docs in the Classroom

42 Interesting Ways To Use Your Interactive Whiteboard in the Classroom

24 Interesting Ways To Use Google Earth in the Classroom

40 Interesting Ways To Use Your Pocket Video Camera in the Classroom

40 Interesting Ways To Use Wordle in the Classroom

27 Interesting Ways To Use Twitter in the Classroom

10 Interesting Ways To Use a Wiki in the Classroom

13 Interesting Ways To Use a Visualizer in the Classroom

23 Interesting Ways To Use a Nintendo DS in the Classroom

34 Interesting Ways To Use Search Engines in the Classroom

17 Interesting Ways to Use Voicethread in the Classroom

5 Interesting Ways to Use Prezi in the Classroom