Monday, June 15, 2009

Ollie Bray on Google Earth in Schools

This is full of good ideas for using Google Earth in the school classroom. I do have one comment though, I think there is an issue with the true value of GEarth as a teaching tool compared with its visual wow! factor. The former is of long term use, the later gets attention now but in the near future, everyone will be used to it and will tire of it.

Examples from Ollie's talk: I think the pizza exercise (about 7 minutes in) where pupils trace the distance that all the ingredients components that make up a take away pizza is a winner. Really makes them think about geography and international trade in a very visual way. The smoke signal activity (2.45 minutes in) is fun once or twice but I imagine the 5th or 6th time students will start thinking it a little lame.

That being said one of the lessons I have learnt from being School Outreach officer for Geography here at Southampton Uni is that keeping attention of a class is much more critical than with our undergrads so maybe you just need to keep a set of such activities handy for grabbing attention.

1 comment:

OllieBray said...

I think the point that you make here is valid Richard some of the activities contain more concrete learning than other. While some have fun at the centre and provide a contextual hub for a lesson.

However, I suspect that by doing the pizza exercise more than a few times children would equally tire of that just as quickly as you suggest they would tire of repeated use of the smoke signals.

In fact, the point with the smoke signals is not the signals themselves but the location they come from. The learning is in the message and the location of place that the signals emerge from the map. Like all the activities it’s up to the teacher to enrich the experience with appropriate discussion and questioning.

The presentation was about ideas and trying to give teachers a good set of tools for starting to think about other ways to teach place.