Time Travelling Through Dubai

Sep 5, 2013 by

What a difference a few years can make! A recent post on Mashable about some radical differences in satellite imagery over the course of just a few years in Google Earth got me thinking. How could a Geology or Math teacher use a time-lapse video of the terraforming taking place in the thriving Middle Eastern metropolis? Over the last decade or so, Dubai has managed to build extravagantly expensive archipelagos  for development, and with the advent of satellite imagery and the “time slider” in Google Earth (more formally known as the Historical Imagery tool), you can peer back to a time when all that existed off the coast of Dubai was ocean. Below is a brief example of myself walking through a quick “time travel” in Google Earth. I’m not sure how a roomful of students could escape asking the curiosities about how much time is taking place, how...

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The Post in Which I Remember Google Earth is Awesome!

Mar 28, 2012 by

I’m a HUGE fan of Google Earth. Ever since the terribly buggy and laggy days of its first incarnations, I’ve used the resources provided by it, oogled monumental structures from space, and found ways to encourage teachers to use it more in their classroom. Sometimes I get pushback from teachers wanting a resource that’s more accessible to students, doesn’t require the internet, and will always be there even if the power goes out (I believe they call these things maps, and they’re printed on paper). Other times I get teachers looking for ways to provide the sort of visuals that wouldn’t be possible with any form of conventional maps, and love all of the layers and information that the infinitely extensible Google Earth can provide. Whichever is the case, I find that if I’m not actually teaching, I forget about how amazingly and ridiculously awesome Google Earth is, which...

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“Whoa, Dude. Mister Turtle is my father”

Jan 11, 2012 by

As I prepare myself for another trip down the rabbit hole with ds106, I had to remind myself that there are still a plethora of amazingly great resources out there to share with teachers, parents, and others that want simple, practical ways to update their curriculum, or replace static learning experiences with much more fluid or real world experiences. Thanks to the Google Earth blog (one of my personal favorites), comes news of a way to track sea turtle migration via Google Earth. Better yet, if you’re running a relatively up to date computer, you can use the web browser embedded map to track the sea turtles without having to fire up Google Earth itself. The interactive map has you following Jklynn, a female hawksbill sea turtle, as she makes her annual migration through the Caribbean. The map includes her previous locations, where she’s at currently, nesting sites, and includes...

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Watch out Santa! NORAD is tracking you!

Dec 1, 2011 by

Ladies and gentlemen, quite rarely do you see such an excellent triumvirate of educational potential than NORAD Tracks Santa. The ability to engage young learners with the prospect of watching Kris Krinkle, introducing the concepts of latitude and longitude using Google Earth, and being able to tie in writing and storytelling is a huge win in my book. It was with great satisfaction then that on my very first day of “getting back to basics” and reading my RSS feeds, I found the announcement that the 2011 countdown for tracking Santa is now live! While the North American Aerospace Defense Command has been providing live Santa coverage on Christmas Eve via Google Earth for a few years now, it actually started more than 50 years ago as a complete fluke! Apparently a misprint in a Sears, Roebuck & CO. advertisement had eager young children hoping to talk to Santa dialing the operations hotline for...

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30 Popular 3D Cities in Google Earth

Jun 2, 2011 by

I was reading through the Google Earth Blog today, and saw that Brussels, Belgium is looking pretty slick in Google Earth thanks to thousands of new 3D models that Google pushed out recently. Yes you read that correctly, thousands of new 3D models. And the amazing thing is, they’re all user-created, so somewhere we have thousands of “digital Frank Gehry’s” to thank for such an amazing collection of work! I’ve long been a fan of Google Earth, and I think that it’s greatly underutilized in many schools, especially as a simple way to explore cities, locations, and environments students may be studying in History, Geography, or Literature courses. So I wandered over to Google’s 3D Warehouse, where users can post and share their 3D creations made using SketchUp (Google’s 3D sketching software), and started poking around the Cities in Development Collection. I did a quick sort by popularity, clicked...

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Lenovo ThinkCentre Touch Screen Edu-Smack Down – Google Earth

Feb 25, 2011 by

Earlier this month I was sent a demo unit of a Lenovo ThinkCentre m90z touch screen computer with Windows 7, in hopes that I would put it through it’s paces in an educational setting. It’s a pretty interesting machine, given it’s large size (23 inches, ye-haa!), and the fact that you can touch it to interact with the software and programs on the computer. Thus far my feelings have been mixed. The touch has been very responsive, and for an all-in-one machine, it would certainly make for a great classroom computer. Yes, it’s a bit pricey compared to traditional student workstations, but physically deploying them means little more than taking them out of the box, putting them on the desk, and then making sure they can connect to the school’s network with the built in wireless for imaging, or loading school specific software. However, most of Windows 7 simply...

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