There were so many “ooohs” and “ah-has” as I read this book! I definitely recommend it for all social studies teachers or teachers that want to get the most out of Google’s Geo Tools. I know my students will benefit from me reading this book, which is the most important thing when reading any professional development book!
When I saw Bring the World to Your Classroom by Kelly Kermode and Kim Randall mentioned on my Twitter feed I knew I had to order it. I was so excited the day it arrived. I quickly cracked it open and dug in with my Google Keep handy to take plenty of notes. Kelly and Kim didn’t disappoint. This book made me realize that, even though I was aware of many of Google’s geography tools, I was not familiar with all of the features that were available on each platform. These Google Geo tools like Google My Maps, Google Tour Builder, Google Earth and so many more allow students to explore the world, create, and collaborate. In addition to the deep dives into the many facets of Google Geo tools, the book is loaded with ideas for how to use these tools with your students. Additionally, it contains a multitude of useful links to explore and use to engage your students.
I learned so much from this book: how to customize icons on Google My Maps and Google Tour Builder; how to export My Maps to a KML file to be used in Google Earth; and how to stylize the way markers appear on maps as well as in the layers of My Maps. I became aware that you can navigate through time on Google Street View to earlier images. I also found out about Story Spheres and how students can create their own.
Some of the many suggestions included in the book were to have students create screencasts of their Street View explorations. The links for the student screencasts can then be added to Google My Maps or tours on Google Tour Builder. I also loved the idea of having students explore Google Earth and fill out an AEIOU chart (A=adjective, E=Emotion, I=interesting, O=Oh? Surprised by ___, and U=Um I still have a question about). I plan on using this idea this week!
The book also provided me with countless new links and resources to explore such as my favorite geteach.com by Josh Williams. This website allows you to compare data side by side on 2 maps. It is an amazing resource for any social studies teacher and one that you all have to check out!
Some of the other websites that I learned about from this book were:
- Google Street Art Collection – an online exhibition of street art from across the globe
- Google Street View Gallery – highlights some of the coolest Street View images
- Teleporter – Teleports you to random Street View images
- Google Sightsmap – Highlights the world’s most photographed locations
- Google Maps Treks – Tours of famous locations across the Globe
- New York Times 360 Videos – Playlist of the New York Times, 360 videos
- Washington Post 360 Videos – Playlist of the Washington Post’s 360 Videos
- Google Earth Education – Google’s Geo Tools education website
- creategloballearners.com – The official website for the book which has additional resources and strategies
If you are looking for more Google Geo tools content to explore as you wait for your copy to arrive, check out these #worldgeochat posts:
- “Turns out, #GoogleEarth is perfect for students” by Chris Heffernan (@cheffernan75)
- “New Google Earth basics” by Pete Spiegel (@GeoSpiegs)
- “New Online Google Earth tutorial: Part II” by Pete Spiegel (@GeoSpiegs)
- “New Online Google Earth Tutorial: Part III” by Pete Spiegel (@GeoSpiegs)
- “10 Free Tech Tools & Websites Every Teacher Should Know About”via @NatGeoEducation
Ed Casey has taught 7th-grade world geography in Naperville District 203 for the past 11 years. He’s constantly striving to increase student interest and engage learning about our world. He looks to stay up-to-date on methods and strategies that will get students active in class, with the goal that the skills they learn in class will lay a foundation for them to take action in their community and the world outside their neighborhood. Ed is also a co-founder of the weekly Twitter chat #worldgeochat which takes place every Tuesday night during the school year from 8–9 P.M. CST. My fellow #worldgeochat moderators and I publish a blog that can be found at https://worldgeochat.wordpress.com/.
Ed holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University Chicago. He lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his wife, two children, and a dachshund who runs the show.
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