Google Earth as an Educational Platform

Uploaded by psutlt on 19.11.2010


Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for inviting me here to
speak to you today. As Cole had mentioned, my name is
Laura Guertin I am an accociate professor of earth sciences
at the Penn State Brandywine campus. That campus is located
20 miles outside of Philadelphia. We like to say that we are
the campus without the football team when people ask where
Brandywine is, haha. So I'll give you a little bit more about
myself and how I came into this fellowship. I'm the only geologist
at my campus and we are...even though we have a handful of
four year degree programs we still primarly are a two plus two
feeder school for the campus up here so most of our students
spend just the freshmen or sophomore getting general education
courses outta the way before they transfer to complete their majors.
As the only geologist I teach primarly just into level GN courses
to students who are trying to get the gen-eds outta the way.
So they're coming to my courses with wonderful attitudes and
desiers to learn science, let me tell ya. So, it's always been
a little bit of a struggle but one of the things that I have been
able to do in my course is, I feel very fortunate that I'm able to
incorporate technology in the courses. We have one instructional
design specialist for the campus. Matt Bodek some of you
may know, who is phenomenal. He has been amazing support
but he is one person for a campus of 1600 students.
Ah, ten four year degree programs. So, he is streached trying
to assist faculity at my level where I am trying to push and look
for new ways to intigrate new technologies where as he's also
trying to help faculity members with how you set up a
course in ANGEL. and set up a drop box. So, it's quite a range, um,
of directions he's going in. So this fellowship really offered me
the opportunity to take my work in the classroom to another
level that I havn't been able to do. It's just really opened up so
many more doors and opportunities for me and it's been
amazingly exciting. As Cole mentioned, I had an amazing teacher
assigned to me to work with this summer. Chris Stubs was the
leader, Chris Malay, and TK Lee. Now I have to say from a campus
perspective it was a little bit of hesitation going into this just
because I didn't know these people. I had been working with Matt,
for this is my 10th year at Penn State and everything I had done
had been with Matt Bodek. Although I am very familiar with ETS
and they have been wonderful people to speak to and connect
with but to have my own team was exciting but at the same time
I didn't know being at a campus located three and a half hours away.
How that connection and collaboration worked but of course we
have technology, haha. So it actually worked amazingly well.
What I had proposed to do with my fellowship was: Doing something
a little bit different in Google Earth. I've been using Google Earth
in my courses for a few years now. One of the reasons I like using
Google Earth. It's a free tool and it also enhances and helps
with the content knowledge I am trying to share with my
students in my courses and also helps, hopefully, develope their
geography and understanding of geospatial relationships.
I am really surprised and scared sometimes when my students
can't point out where the Pacific Ocean is on a map or where
Illinois is located. That's a national average. Approximately 50% of
18 to 25 year olds in the United States cannot find New York
on a map and then the statistics just get more depressing after that.
So Google Earth is a way for me to engage the students with
technology but also, hopefully, find a way to enhance their
geospatial knowledge. So I have been doing projects for a
couple of years and I will just show you an example of somthing
I had done before this fellowship with students where I was
having them read non-fiction earth science related books and
create tours in Google Earth. So overhere on the right hand column
you can see a list of books and these would be books that
students could find in Barns and Noble or Borders. I am sorry,
Barns and Noble the official bookstore of Penn State is, yes, where
they found them, haha. Then what they did was they read through
the book and then added that geographic context. So, then
they would go into Google Earth and so for the first book here,
Bottle Mania, students would actually create placemarks and in
the placemarks I taught them how they could actually embed
images and embed audio files as well. So this is somthing I
have been doing with my students, teaching them just some
really basic HTML about how you put things in bold and italics.
Taught them a little bit about what it means to be in the
public domain. Making sure images and videos are copywrite free,
showing them how to record audio files so that they could then
record themselves and also put into these, what are called
placemarks in Google Earth as well. Excerpt from Placemark
:"The world population is growing rapidly and fresh drinkable water,
most of which is stored in underground aquifers, is growing scarse."
So I really have to credit people such as Matt Frank, who was our first
media commons campus consultant, coming to Brandywine to
help us out and also, most reciently, Erin Smith, who came and
was showing students how to use Garage Band and how to edit
these files which we could then put into Google Earth It was
interesting because as the students were using Google Earth
more and more they would ask me more questions on
"How do you do this?" or "How do you do that?" and it was a
little bit beyond my technological knowledge. So, one of the
questions I had in the back of my mind but I didn't spend a lot
thinking about until the students started pressuring me,
"I want to know how to do x, y, and z." That's what formed my
proposal for the TLT fellowship. What we wanted to learn how to do,
is change the navagation style in Google Earth. When people go
through Google Earth and they are looking at the satellite images
or their searching for their house or whatever, the navagation
scheme is all on the left hand side. For example, for these files,
even that my students created, you go down and you click down
this list and you bring up these different placemarks. To actually
view the material. So, it's kinda a one direction or one way summary
to go through. The student started asking me
"How can we put a link inside this popup window to then go to
any other link?" or "How do we keep everything where
Google Earth gives you this image, or visiblity, where you if you
want to get rid of that menu bar you can. If students were just
to randomly click they wouldn't get the story. When I was thinking
of stories I was also thinking back to my childhood. And, some
of you may have read the choose your own adventure series.
Where you actually read a little bit of a passage and it's
"You're walking down a trail and if you want to cross the bridge
turn to page 26. If you want to enter the castle, turn to page 42."
Everytime you read the book and you go through it can have a
different ending and a different journey. I was thinking of merging
those two ideas. How can you, using the technology of Google Earth,
create a "choose your own adventure" style of story. What I wanted
to do was not make it a fantasy story but base it in fact. So real earth
science and scientific content was in there. So that was the purposal.
I met with my team, it was at the end of May, explained what my
desire was to do with this project, and I have to give credit to
TK Lee, that man is brilliant. Within two weeks he figured out
how to do it. I was like "OK, it is now June, early June, and we
have the rest of the summer. So, what do we do?" I said
"Can we do something else?" and they said
"Sure. What else are you interested in?" So we talked a little bit
and I have to say the dynamics of having this team to work with
was amazing too because they would ask me questions, them
not knowing even what my classrooms looked like, what my
campus looked like, they hadn't been there before and so them
trying to ask what the situation was and what are my goals and
objectives and they said "Well, have you thought about this?" or
"Have you thought about that?" and Chris Stubs was that one
that said "Well, have you thought about students doing everything
in Google Earth in a course?". I said "What do you mean?" he says
"Well how about they just do a portfolio within Google Earth?"
and I thought about that a little bit more. What it came to,
in the end, was, then thinking about another course.
This particular course I was teaching in the Fall was not the
one I wanted to do a choose your own adventure in but it was
a brand new course for me. It's a 400 level course, which I had
not taught on my campus before but we have a new
academic minor called the enviromental inquiry minor.
So, it was an opportunity for me to teach more of my discipline
and to bring in some more technology and Chris Malay was really
helpful in setting up this blog. I knew how to use the Penn State
template but didn't know how to tweak it. What we did was sorta
created a blog for the students in my class, and there they are,
these are the guys, with seven students enrolled in the class it
was all male students. I had never had that before. It was an
amazing group of students though. They were really wonderful,
clicked really well with each other, were really supportive.
What each student did and I used the blog to deliver the course
in essance, including, I embedded videos in there and had some
text in there for them as well. Each student created their own
Google Earth file, then documented everything they did in the couse.
When I say documented everything, I mean everything. I told the
students day one, I handed them their syllabus and I said
"This is the only sheet of paper you're going to get from me all
semester. We're gonna go green with this course." I said
"It's still Penn State policy that they have to distribute a paper
copy of the syllabus. So therefore, you are getting the paper copy.
Howerver, I would like to everything online and use audio and
video with the course." With the funds available from the
TLT fellowship, I purchased digital voice recorders, free to
the students. This was a really nice model too because it records
everything as an MP3 file then it has a built in way for you to just
plug it in to a USB port then they went into Garage Band to edit
their files. I'll show you again in a bit but yes they could then
embed their audio files in Google Earth and they placed thier
audio files geographically depending on what they were discussing.
So, if it was an audio file talking about Yellowstone National Park
they could put their placemark there for example.
I also purchased video cameras for the students.
I didn't get flip cameras. I instead got the Kodak ZI-8s because
they could also take photos as well as video. They didn't want to
purchase cameras on top of that and I didn't want them using
their cell phone cameras just because I wanted something with
a little better resolution. So armed with video camears and
digital voice recorders that I loaned out to them, made them
sign their life for it, but I loaned it out to them and none of
them got damaged. They were nervous excited about it.
We did as many courses outdoors as we possibly could too and
each of the students then, bring back my menu bar, came up
with some pretty amazing projects. So I am just gonna show you
the created folders and the columns listed to what are the different
subjects that we talked about. The pins again were place
geographically, depending on what the subject was of their
audio file. The videos we uploaded into Youtube that then the
students were able to embed. So, one of the places that we visited
because the couse was themed on fire. We had to go to
Centralia, Pennsylvania. The town that's burning underground.
Which, some of them questioned me if that was a good idea to
bring students to a town that is, going to collapse underneath
them but, haha. Then we went, took photos, shot video, and
they kinda put together a little mini documentary of what's left
of Centralia, which is not much. This was all done using iMovie
and Garage Band. In fact the song that's going on in the background,
this particular student wrote and performed himself.
So students really got creative with some of these files.
There's another file in here where when we were talking about
public land and we were talking about John Meurer and
Teddy Roosevelt kinda going off in the woods and having
campfire conversations and the students would alter their voices
in the audio file "Well Mr. President, I'm John Meurer, and I am
here to say...Well Mr. Meurer I would like your opinion on..."
and they would change their voices and pretend they were having
conversations with multiple people. So they really got creative,
I would say there was one student in the course that, through
the whole term, wrote every word down, word for word before
recording it in the voice recorder. Towards the end of the
semester almost all of them kinda came around and had this
comfort level of not doing anything on paper. Any assessment
was done purely based on these audio files that they created and
the video files and most of it was audio files. So this is what
would be in a pin. They liked the jingles. They were big fans of that.
Student: "These are my reflections on the Big Burn, chapter one,
a peculiar end to see." And then each of the files goes through there.
I have to credit Chris Malay for helping me figure out how to get
a player within each of these as well. This was not a direction
I ever would have thought going in with my courses before.
Doing somthing completely green, which, I should do as an
earth scientist. Also, having completly a course protfolio.
Each student now has, in essance, a course portfolio that they've
created documenting everything that they learned in this particular
class. So for me that's been exciting and I am going to continue
with this model again next fall. I think the theme of the course
is going to be water instead of fire and I already have some of
the students in the class saying "I wanna do this again, this was
so different. It was so innovative." I think they really appreciated
having the access and the ability to use the technology in there.
So to continue with what Cole had mentioned this actually came
out from the very first day that the TLT fellows came together
for dinner. Cole brought us all together, we went to Ottos and
I was sitting across the table from Anne Clemmons and Anne,
and I didn't know many people at the table. I was next to
Chris though, it was delightful sitting next to you. Anne was
across from me and was like "Oh hi, how are you? Who are you?
What are you doing?" and she was saying "Oh you use Google Earth."
she said "You know I would love to use that with my music students,
because in the elementary school classroom we're still using
transparencies. We're putting up a transparency with a map of
the United States and showing students. This music style comes
from this place and now I am going to play you a clip of that
music style. Now I am going to show you a photo from that place."
She said "It's completely disjointed." it is not joined together it
is not a fluid delivery within there and it's hard for the students
to connect with the material. I said "Well you could do it in
Google Earth." and I thought about it more after the dinner
and then my next visit up here to State College I met with Anne
and I showed her a couple of different examles. Somethings I
had thrown together in Google Earth of how you could use
Google Earth to embed the photos and the music clips all in
one push pin, that then could help the students zoom across
the globe to that geographic location. She said "Well, we've got
this great database with the Smithsonian music clips." and so
her and I were going back and forth and she had one of her
gradutate students working primarily with one of my
undergraduate students. So what I also liked about this model
was that it wasn't just Anne and I. Two faculity from completly
different disciplines at completely different campuses but we have
students, an undergraduate and a graduate who have still to this
day never met each other. They have only talked on the phone,
they have only emailed and what they have developed is amazing.
So they have a whole series of projects that are still coming together.
We have a few more that are coming out that are based in
different geographic regions or based on different
instruments and such. They are putting together teacher guides
to help teachers actually implement this in the classroom as well.
So, I'll just click on one of them here to give you an example.
So for example, music exploration one, students are shown a
photo in the elementary school classrooms. Ok, so there are a
series of questions "What do you see? What do you think you
would hear? What emotions?" and then there is examples.
So the photo stays there for the kids to see ♪ music ♪
"Is this the correct music clip?" ♪music changes♪
"Is this one the correct music clip?" "Or is this one the correct
music clip?" ♪ music changes♪ You can imagine in early
elementary school classroom the kids would be cheering
"C it's C" and then the teacher can click and, boom, the music clip
will play again and it will bring them to that particular area of
the globe. Then, in the teachers guide, there's more information
of what layers they can activate in Google Earth to see what's
in that region. So that's one quick example of what they've done.
The students and Anne and myself submitted an abstract to the
Pennsylvania Music Educators Conference that has been accepted.
So, in April, we are actually going to Hershey. We are going to be
presenting this and I know the undergraduate and graduate student
are also gonna be working on a publication to come out of this too.
So, it's been really exciting. This has also motivated the
under, by the way this undergraduate, she's only a
sophomore right now, she did this in the summer after her
freshman year. This actually has inspired her to think of where
she wants to continue with maybe some further undergraduate
research projects that are interdisciplinary. Combining the
humanities with technology. That's, I think, one of the best
outcomes that you can see for students to get inspired and to
continue moving on and bridging these different disciplines together.
So, that's my little talk I suppose. I just wanted to share, there's
my guys again. They were so excited to be in a cemetery in
Centralia, Pennsylvania. Then they are there with their measuring
instruments because we were measuring air quality and
temperature of the air and the ground and such too.
So, it's been an amazing experience working with my guys.
I call them my Google Earth gurus, as well. I should mention too
that during the summer they did make a trip to my campus so
they could better understand my enviroment for what I am teaching.
I really really appreciated that too as did the students. They asked
me if they could run a focus group and speak with some students.
During the summer I was able to get five students to come to campus.
They demonstrated their Google Earth projects and what they
had created because honestly I don't think my team believed
that my students were creating these things in the first place.
They were like "Really? Your students? Not you?" I said
"Really. The students did this." They learned how to embed these
audio and video files and images and such. So the students,
it was great for them, believe it or not, to have someone from
University Park care about them too. Because, there is such a
disconnect for the students between the campuses. For
Brandywine students to have important people from University Park,
I didn't tell them it was just Chris, Chris and TK but there are
these people who want to hear what we have to say and want
to see what we have done. It was such a huge ego boost for my
students and Chris kicked me out of the room so he could talk
to the students in private to see what was really going on.
It was really wonderful for them to then visit our media commons
and I brought them to the park where we had done some of our
classes as well. So that I think really helped the course. For them
to see what I am doing, what my enviroment is and how their
work really has helped the students too. So, that was a really
important part and thank you for allowing them to come down
to Brandywine. That really helped it. So, TK is still kinda going
crazy with this project I will say. There's something else going
on with gaming. You may have heard Penn State's amazing race.
This is something new that they are doing. It's at
So what we have found when we were looking through for just
information and other files that are online Oh, I am sorry I
should have brought this up sooner. Let's see if I click here.
So, TK found a program that was already on Google's website where
it was, you could, a country would flash up and it would say
"Ok, find this country." and you as the user would have to move
the Google Earth globe around to hover your little cursor over
that country and it would say "Great you found it. Now find
this country." and so what we did was customize that though.
So I could actually have my students find particular locations
that I wanted them to be familiar with. They're still working on
this too and one of the things that I am really excited about
that how their kinda twising and tweaking this. Is that they're
also not only recording how long it takes a student to find a
particular location but where their going. So it's also tracking
their movements. So if it says find Costa Rica and I have a
student hovering over Mexico, that the program will show me
that as an instructure afterwards. It's a playback. So, it's not just
where I can see the score of if a student got it right or wrong but
also where were they going. Where were they in the first place.
Ok, so well now I am going to be at the bottom of the list for
this demonstration, haha. As you can see there is rankings in
there too, they put th at in there. So, there's rules.
Move your little square so that's a particular locaton but it
will time you out if it takes too long to find a spot.
I had one student at the beginning of the term had a really
hard time. You don't have a search box here. What you have
to do is just zoom and use the cursor to move over to
particular locations. I have to zoom in a little bit more.
That says "Good job, now find Yellowstone." So these are
locations that, and I gave this to students at the beginning of
the semester, so I knew what their geographic knowledge was
coming into the course because Yellowstone is a key part of
the course. If they don't know where it is. That it's located in
the United States even. That's something I need to clarify day
one to make sure that I am approaching each of these topics
in the correct way. So this has been a lot of fun and I know
this is going to be available for all faculity, I believe, at some point.
They're hoping that other people will be able to customize it and
customize the locations within there too. So, it's been
exciting for me to see my team still continue on and work on
some projects and help me tweak some things so that this is
something I'll be able to continue with. I can't thank Cole enough
for selecting me for this and for really accelerating what I have
been doing with undergraduate research and with students and
teaching with technology. Thank you again.

With Google Earth? Not long considering that most of them had
not used it before. Only students that have had me in the past
were comfortable with it. Even the students that said they were
anti-technology "Oh, I hate technology. I can't do anything except
Microsoft Word." They actually found that it's pretty intuitive.
You've got the zoom and the navigating and you can just move
your mouse back and forth. So with Google Earth they were pretty
quick with it. What might have taken a little bit longer is getting
comfortable with embed codes. The embed code for the
audio, if I can bring that up, is, ah, I will open up one of Ben's
audio files. It's a little more involved. So, this here scared
a lot of them. Some told me, I'm not in Myspace, but apparently
in Myspace if you want to put things in bold or italics that
students do the bracket, the b in the bracket. So they were already
comfortable with codes. They had used them before so they
understood what that was. Then when you get things that are
a little bit more detailed, it threw them off a little but the
copy and paste. They were comfortable with that after a while.
We had very few vary vary few glitches I would say.
Where students were banging their head against a wall.
"I cannot get this to open. I cannot get this to embed." So yeah.
Question: "Did Matt help with that? Your local IDs?"
I tried to tap into my team as much as possible. I kept Matt in
the loop in everything because I know if anything was going to
crash and burn the first person I would turn to would be that
campus person but Matt actually has since used some of this
stuff as well and shared it with other faculity members on campus.
That's the idea right? To help disseminate this so that others can
catch on. So, it'll be interesting to see where we go next with this.
It will be really interesting. Anything else? Thank you.