Upstate Technology Conference – Day One

Today was the first day of the Upstate Technology Conference sponsored by the Greenville County School District.  J.L. Mann High Academy is hosting the conference in their new and spacious facility.

I attended the keynote address, given by Ewan McIntosh entitled “Publishing, Play, Purpose:  Three Elements that Must Change our Teaching and Learning.”  He addressed the state of U.S. education by renaming No Child Left Behind as “No Child Moving Forward.”  Funny, but it does point out a major weakness in our system:  we are so concerned with mastering material to pass a test that we forget that the process of learning should be our focus.  He shared that in Scotland, their students are not tested before age 13.  Interesting.

I also had the opportunity to attend several hour long sessions.  My favorite today was “Creating Virtual Field Trips with Google Earth.”  Sandra McLendon accomplished quite a bit in under an hour.  She not only introduced some newer features of Google Earth including Google Sky, but also taught a roomful of educators how to create placemarks, insert hyperlinks, insert images, and how to apply overlays.  The possibilities of using Google Earth in the classroom boggle this mind.

I attended a session at the 2008 SCASL Conference on Google Lit Trips, but was overwhelmed with the information there.  With the hands on approach that Sandra McLendon took today, I feel like I have a grasp of how to start a virtual field trip using Google Earth and am excited about it!

Two helpful sites that were shared during this session:

Google Earth Resources for Educators This site includes information covered in today’s session. Also included are tutorials, files, and helpful links.

3 D Warehouse Searchable database of 3 D images, many of which are ready to open in Google Earth.

 Although I would love to create lots of virtual trips and other lessons using these resources, I realize that I am limited by time.  So, like any other time-deprived educator, I googled the topic and came across some great sites:

Google for Educators  This site contains ideas for using many of the available Google tools including Google Earth.

Juicy Geography A small collection of Google Earth lessons.

 Constitution Trek (kmz file)

 Google Earth Community You must register to use this site.

Google Earth Lessons  This site has how-to’s and a variety of lessons, both teacher controlled use of GE and student controlled use of GE.  Definitely worth checking into.

Postcards from the Past  Great lesson using historic photographs, a digital camera, and Google Earth.

 Who can help me by sharing other Google Earth lesson sites?  Please add your favorites in your comment. Thanks!

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