Thursday, August 6, 2009

Google Earth

What an invention, you see things like this and wonder how society coped without this technology. This could be used in a class room in so many areas. But for one example The SOSE Essential Learnings (QSA 2007) by the end of grade 5 in the strand of place and space state:
"Global environments are defined by features, including landforms, location markers (Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn and the Equator), countries, regions, continents and climatic zones"
This is an exciting Essential Learning to achieve when you have Google Earth at your finger tips. This style of lesson can incorporate Oliver's (1999)Learning Design Frame Work to guide and design the choice of learning tasks, learning resources and learning supports. In younger grades the tasks could involve locating your home, school or a famous landmark and drawing your own map. The older grades could involve plotting with longitude and latitude markings, a written report on a specific area, a piece of visual art work...the list goes on. To achieve the above mentioned Essential Learning the assessment task could be to create an itinerary for your family holiday, taking in specific countries and landmarks in Australia.The children will collaboratively design a map of Australia with the specific locations. They will research these areas and provide information on each. I would like them to include on their map the distance between each place and if they are in different time zones. This project provides for collaborative learning, to create their own project with the value of making a useful contribution while learning (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999)
The students can accept this as an authentic task, they can presume their family can actually take this trip.
The Internet provides a wonderful resource for collaborative efforts as it is easy to quickly uncover a lot of information about any topic (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999).

I am passionate about landmarks in Australia both famous and not so well known. I found Wave Rock in W.A, the Great Australian Bight and the Nullabour Plain, the most southern point of Australia, South Cape, and the most northern on the Cape York peninsular on Google Earth. I have been fortunate to have visited all these areas and I realise not everyone has or will in their life time but if I can bring attention to it in the class room then the students are going to acquire awareness about their own country and this knowledge will benefit students for their future endeavours.
I am excited to find out if my school has access to Google Earth to start planning some lessons.

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