Google Maps and Earth for Educators

Written by admin

Topics: Google, Resource

So, Google has made quite an overhaul to Google Maps and Google Earth with some fantastic features for educators to get stuck in and create wonderful dynamic content for their classes and for students to create some fabulous content to showcase their learning too. Google has done a great job of putting together a lively and engaging e-learning course that covers both Google Maps and Google Earth. The course can be accessed at  and it is a good springboard into both products and has some great activities that are easily adapted for use in the classroom with some resources that could be re-used in a different context.

The new Google Maps Engine lite has some great features, including the ability to map data demographically from a spreadsheet – something familiar to those that may have used Microsoft MapView in the past. I believe that Maps Engine Lite is still in Beta and I can’t help but think that the course Google has put out for people to complete has been a great way of collecting lots of data as part of their wider beta testing process.

A good example of a Google Earth tour can be seen here, this is hosted as part of the Mapping With Google course. So, here are a few ideas that I have come up with as to how educator’s could use this in the classroom:

  • Virtual fieldtrips in the Social Sciences. A great place for the physical geographer to explain landscape features. What about a tour of the local battlefields as part of the history curriculum (where applicable of course!)
  • Expedition groups (Duke of Edinburgh’s Award etc…) for planning and showcasing trips
  • School Environment projects
  • PE curriculum – planning OE/cross country routes etc
  • Mathematics – demographic and spatial data analysis
  • Art – Tour of the World Galleries
  • Languages – Notable features in specific countries

Students could:

  • Plot student home locations (Privacy issues permitting) along with Method of transport to school and use it to analyse the environmental impact
  • Produce a virtual tour of their hold – what they did and where
  • Create a video tour with audio narrative on specific land features
  • Create tours of foreign tourist locations as part of a languages course
  • Narrate the life of a particular person using placemarkers
  • Create scientific maps – e.g. annotations on sand dunes to show psammosere succession
  • Create historical maps to show how places have changed over time

So, if you have the time, do go and take a look – some exciting opportunities!


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