Google Geo Teachers Institutes bring innovative educators together

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Educators have created many exciting lessons with Google’s tools. These tools help students learn about the world in fun ways. Recently they had the opportunity to share this work with peers from all over the US at two Google Geo Teachers Institute events, first in Washington DC at National Geographic Headquarters and then at the University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn College in Lewiston, Maine.

The Institute was an intensive, two-day event where participants got hands-on experience using Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google SketchUp. Participants also learned about Google Fusion Tables and Chromebooks, and heard from a variety of guest educators. Juan Jose Valdez, head geographer at National Geographic Society, and Angus King, former governor of Maine, gave keynote addresses on the importance of geographic literacy and the state of technology in education today.

Educators had the opportunity to see and hear how Google’s tools can be integrated easily into all subjects to create a more meaningful learning experience for their students. For example, Jerome Burg of Google Lit Trips demonstrated how Google Earth can be used to teach all levels of literature. Mike Hathorn of Hartford High School and Beryl Reid of Billerica School District discussed how students are using SketchUp for historical architecture projects. Margaret Chernosky of Bangor High School showed attendees how she helps students visualize geographic data into Google Earth. Jim Sill of El Diamante High School shared his Google Maps educational tips and tricks as well.

Google Earth and SketchUp bring the world's geographic information to teachers and students in a new and unique way. Google Earth's satellite imagery and Google SketchUp models create a 3D experience of the entire planet, giving students an opportunity to explore in ways never before possible. The many layers provided in Google Earth include a plethora of information and resources for both teachers and students. From literature to science and from math to history, Google Earth, Maps, and SketchUp provide a compelling and fresh way to teach, learn, and explore.

Visit the Google for Educators website for more ideas on how to bring geographic technology into the classroom.

Posted by Allyson McDuffie, Geo Education Team