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Google Earth for Teaching and Learning by puy10969


									                   Google Earth for Teaching and Learning

                              Shawn Miller, Andrea Novicki
                  Center for Instructional Technology, Duke University

    Key Words: Google_Earth, visualization, science, history, social_science, GPS,


        Duke's Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) launched an initiative providing
grants and support for faculty looking to explore new visualization technology in their
courses. We collaborated with faculty and students on several projects involving Google
Earth for teaching and for student-created content. Our presentation provides examples,
details, and outcomes from projects produced by Duke faculty and students that
demonstrate various approaches to using Google Earth for teaching and learning.


       Google Earth is a flexible, interactive tool that can support student learning in
many different disciplines. Google Earth isn't just a global visualization tool but also a
browser for content: not just mapping, but data, pictures, and HTML (e.g., video). For
teaching and learning, users can access data already loaded into the application (Google
frequently adds more built-in resources to the layers), or input their own data in various
ways. Some of the following projects demonstrate how Google Earth can be used as a
collaborative development tool for creating more advanced mapping visualizations.
                               Project Demonstrations

1) Biomes
        An Ecology course used content available within Google Earth to explore biomes,
which are communities of living organisms of a single major ecological region, such as
the desert biome. Google Earth was used in class to identify and compare biomes located
in geographically distinct areas. To visualize the environment and species, layers
containing photographs were enabled, and selected pictures were discussed. All content
was already in Google Earth, and could be selected by the instructor or students. In the
limited class time, students already familiar with Google Earth used these features easily,
but students new to Google Earth were distracted by other features.

Image Caption 1: A sample photograph from a desert biome in the American Southwest.

                              2008 UNC TLT Proceedings
2) Invasive plants
        Julie Reynolds (Biology and Writing) supervises an undergraduate research
project using GPS (Global Positioning System) devices and Google Earth to map
environmental data for service learning. Locations of invasive plants were displayed in
Google Earth and will be used in educational materials for the park. Students are
analyzing the effects of various physical features visible in Google Earth (e.g., powerlines,
river) on the distribution of invasive species, so they are involved in an authentic
research project. This project will be expanded to include citizen-scientists who visit the

Image Caption 2: Students used GPS devices to mark locations of invasive plant species (pink
and green dots) and to track trail locations (blue line) in a local park.

                               2008 UNC TLT Proceedings
3) Digital Durham
        Trudi Abel (History) works with history students at Duke and at local area K-12
schools on several projects, often involving her Digital Durham Web site
( ). Abel continues to work with us to embed historical
maps and student-collected data and photographs of present-day Durham into Google
Earth. This project helps students to better visualize and understand connections
between present-day Durham and historical Durham, and to authentically connect with

Image Caption 3: A Sanborn map (1888) created as an overlay in Google Earth.

                              2008 UNC TLT Proceedings
Image Caption 4: Individual map elements can be selected and manipulated to reveal
more/less of present-day Durham.

Image Caption 5: Historical photos of Durham can be placed on specific locations using
coordinates collected with a GPS and/or elements found in the historical maps. New features in
Google Earth make it possible to view photos at higher resolutions and to include additional
information about photos using HTML.

                                2008 UNC TLT Proceedings
4) North Carolina and the Global Economy
       Gary Gereffi (Sociology), director of the Center on Globalization, Governance and
Competitiveness, engages his undergraduate students through real-world research and
development. The results are displayed on the North Carolina and the Global Economy
(NCGE) Web site ( ).

Caption 6: Using Google Earth Pro, students load data, create custom icons, and add
annotations. Here, a segment of the hog farming industry is displayed, using purple for the

                                 2008 UNC TLT Proceedings
Image Caption 7: Data from the database and/or original data file can be displayed and edited
within the placemarks in Google Earth.

Image Caption 8: The Google Earth files are linked from the NCGE Web site and are used to
create the embedded Google Maps.

                                2008 UNC TLT Proceedings

Digital Durham (Google Earth project will be available on this website when completed)
North Carolina in the Global Economy (Google Earth visualization is available on the
Duke University Center for Instructional Technology web page about Google Earth:

                             Bibliography/ References

Inspiration from:
Frank Taylor, "Google Earth Blog"
Google, "Google Earth User Guide" Google,
Google, "Google Earth Community" discussion forum
Google, "Google Earth KML Gallery"
Google, "Lat Long Blog" Google Earth and Maps blog http://google-
R. Sgrillo "GE-Graph: Graph for GoogleEarth"

All map images created using Google Earth™ mapping service.

                             2008 UNC TLT Proceedings

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