Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Tutorials For GEarth v5

I'm pleased to announce the end of a project I have been working on since the start of summer: A new set of tutorials for GEarth v5. I tested them out on some teachers recently and got excellent feedback, excuse me for blowing my own trumpet about that but I can't help being chuffed. If you're interested in having a look this is the first 3 of 11 chapters and the supporting materials.

What's Good about the New Tutorials:
  • Cool Outputs Straight Away: Within half an hour I have my students successfully putting a video in a placemark pop up balloon and producing their first tour. Rather than take them through all the basics (placemarks, polygons, lines) before letting them do 'cool' things I show them how easy it is to produce rich, complex content with Google Earth early on.
  • As Tutor I take responsibility for the learning, unlike other tutorials there is no need to worry what is important to learn, I have made those decisions for the student. I think students prefer this to open ended learning where they have weaker guidance what they need to learn.
  • Supporting KMZ materials: The tutorials come with real GEarth content which students work on. This format allows me pre-process the materials so they can concentrate on the learning outcome. For example, if I want them to draw a Polygon on an island the tutorial instructs them to open a KMZ file which instantly flies them to the right location rather than having to navigate to it manually.
  • GeoWeb Design: Unlike other tutorials I don't just explain how to change the color of an icon, I cover design principles too so that users understand what color to choose. I'm careful not to produce separate design teaching from the main HowTo content, its all mixed together- separate out design bits and users are likely to skip them. In my experience, they are focused on learning the skills rather than the principles.
  • Modular Design: The tutorials are modular (in education jargon: Learning Objects) so you can tackle one about how to produce polygons in Google Earth without having done the one about basic navigation, although they do logically follow on from each other. This not only gives me flexibility in putting together packages for different groups it allows me to add in customised content, so a set of teachers could learn how to produce a tour with the normal content and then tackle a customised section of the tutorials where they are asked to produce a lesson plan involving the tour functionality.
  • Paper format: The tutorials are designed to be printed out, this means students can easily look from instructions (paper) to screen - video or web based format means the student has to manage windows on screen. I've also found that students have a sense of ownership of a manual - its theirs to keep and scribble on - they just don't have that with a website tutorial.
  • Instill Confidence: One of my aims in teaching is to instill confidence in students to encourage them to be able to go off and build their own resources. I was pleased to see explicit comments saying I had achieved from the feedback forms given to school teachers in my recent teaching session. Unfortunately, part of this confidence comes from my teaching so you may not pick this up from just looking at the tutorials.
Unlike my former tutorials (see below), I'm not publishing all of these. They're designed to be customised so if you're interested in getting some training in producing maps with GEarth get in touch and we can discuss costs. I am already using them in face to face mode but there are website and web conferencing options I can offer. If you're desperate to get some training and have no access to funds I list some options for you below.

My Old Tutorials: This isn't the first set of tutorials about Google Earth I have produced, in the past I've published;

  • '' ( itself is inactive): Video tutorials for GEarth v3 on how to produce a map in GEarth
Other Tutorials: I'm also not the only person producing tutorials, here are the other resources I rate;
  1. The official Google Earth User Guide
  2. Google Earth Outreach have produced a really good set of tutorials
  3. Jamie Buchan-Dunlop has produced a set of manuals in conjunction with Google

13 Nov 09:
Added cc licence after a query: Please apply this licence to the tutorial files.

Creative Commons License
Google Earth Tutorials by Richard Treves is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License
Google Earth Tutorials by Richard Treves is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

No comments: