I'm pleased to say that John Bailey and I have a paper out in "Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Education and Research" on 19 best practices on how to design Google Earth tours for education.
The paper isn't free to download but to give you a taster I've taken a table from a draft of the paper which summarizes the best practices discussed (note GET = Google Earth Tour). I've discussed many of these best practices on this blog so I've added links to posts within the table (some posts also discuss other topics).
|No.||Major||Minor||Best Practice Description||Evidence|
Iteration and testing
GETs should be generated in an iterative process that incorporates user testing.
Narration, Annotations and Labels
Labels and annotations should be used often but without impacting visual clarity.
Within a GET narration should use less formal language
The visual complexity of GETs should be made simpler than comparative static maps where possible.
GET Virtual Flights
Speed of Flight
Speed in flights should be slower with rising complexity on screen and be in the range 0.5 to 8 scales per second.
Looped Paths and Overviews
Acceleration and Deceleration
GET flights between waypoints should accelerate at the start and decelerate at the end.
CombinedGET Slides and Virtual Flights
Grids for Navigation and Scale
Embedding GETs in Earth Science Teaching
Topics that are Effective when presented as GE Tours
The use of a GETs should be particularly considered when illustrating 3D topography, data over a range of scales/locations, and/or introducing a GE map collection.
Creating Activities for GE tours
GETs should be used to support activity-based teaching