Friday, December 14, 2007

Why didn't I think of that?

So my AGU talk was warmly received yesterday, for any first time visitors you might like to check out this summary post I made a couple of weeks back. More on the content of my talk in a later post.

Screen shot of one of Declan's Blocks

Definitely the 'find' of the conference for me was the work of Declan de Paor , not because it was the most impressive looking Virtual Globe application but because he used some simple features in very powerful ways. Firstly, he's created a simple box using Sketchup (a free program for making models to export to Google Earth) and put an image on the top taken from Google Earth and a side view of a geological section. At this stage, a pretty clever way of teaching geology but then his blinding idea was to give the block an elevation above the ground that varies by time. By moving the timeline slider the block slides in and out of the earth, excellent for students who need to get the idea of what a geological section represents. I've yet to work out exactly how this works and he hasn't published a .kmz file of it.

His other great idea was to use a network link to control students in a class. The network link his students have is continually updating and Declan puts images in as screen overlays into the source of the network link and gets students to find the location matching the image, so it could be the image of an island students have to find. When he's happy all the students have found the island, by saving a text file on his computer he can change the network link and the students get a new image on screen to find. Very simple, very neat.

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