Thursday, April 30, 2020

Storytelling with the Google Earth Projects Tools - Bring the World to Your Classroom!

In November of last year, Google launched the new Projects tool within Google Earth. I was fortunate enough to be in a cohort of teachers from around the globe who were beta testing for almost 2-years as part of a project to grow the community of educators using Google Earth. While I fell in love with the Projects tool I also found myself profoundly inspired but the minds around me.

What does the Google Earth Projects tool do? Essentially, it allows the user to tell a story about places around the world, adding text, video, and images. Viewers can jump from place to place and read an engaging story in the text boxes, look at images, and view related videos. You can even force the viewer to zoom down into a Street View and scroll in 360°. The tool is intuitive. All you need to create Projects is a computer and a Chrome browser.

Check out these sample Projects, many deliberately designed to tell a story.

When preparing a project, the emphasis should be on preparation and storytelling. If it is based on academic research, think about how to tell a compelling story. Climate change may be your focus, so how can you draw in your audience? If it is about a personal experience, what details and imagery will hook your readers? Anything can be turned into a story. In practical terms, after you have your research finished, and noted any details you want to include about places on the tour, gather photos and YouTube videos you want to use to reinforce the story. (and remember, cite your sources!)

So how do you put it all together? This video (on my alter ego YouTube channel) shows it all but begins with a note on ‘best practices’ for the classroom. *See the description in YouTube for access to Google Earth and other teacher resources!

Learn more from Google here.



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