Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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"Think Spring" with Digital Field Trips


After the winter weather we have had this season, it's easy to want to think warm thoughts. Plus, since we are at the point of Spring Break (or getting close to it) we can travel all over the world without leaving our classroom. But, since we are on a teacher's budget, traveling abroad isn't as simple as we'd like it to be. With the help of Google and other tools, taking a trip is easy, and since it's convenient, you might as well bring your class along with you!

Google's World Wonders

A really neat site that Google offers is Google's World Wonders site, put together by the Google Cultural Institute. This allows you to take your classes on virtual field trips using Google Street View and put your students "on location." You have the option of taking them to Independence Hall in Philadelphia or the Grand Canyon in Arizona, all in the same day! This site is packed with photos and Google Earth views that will provide you with a terrific avenue to introduce famous locations all over the world!

Google Earth

Another powerful tool is Google Earth. Using this site allows you to travel all over the globe with a single click. Google has also advanced the search feature in Earth. You can now simply ask for a destination and it will take you there, as opposed to scrolling to the exact location on the globe. For example, searching "the capital of Iowa" drops you right into Des Moines. In addition to an updated search, you will now notice Knowledge Cards that appear on the screen. When you're dropped into a location, you can scroll through these cards to learn more about local landmarks and other places of interest in a given area. Allowing students to travel and see firsthand on their devices the places they are learning about and discussing can have a high impact on their learning.

Google Tour Builder

One of my favorite tools outside of the G Suite of apps is the Google Tour Builder.This site allows you to plot points on a map and then completely personalize each point. Not only are you able to change the marker and the color of it, there is even an option to add photos, text, and even video into each location. Imagine tracking all the places a character has traveled, or viewing all of the places a famous scientist has lived, or even just simply famous locations across the globe. This is a terrific opportunity for students to gain some real world geography knowledge, all while connecting it to your current content.

Discovery Education Field Trips

Quite similar to the Google World Wonders site is the Virtual Field trips from Discovery Education. This is a wonderful site allows students to cruise through the wonders of the world, but what sets this apart is that it goes beyond a virtual field trip. For example, there are articles categorized by subject that include virtual videos about various topics. An example of this allows you to explore what the penguins tell us about our planet, and you can even visit Auschwitz, all while traveling with Discovery Education.

Google Expeditions

If you've ever wanted to bring the powerful world of Virtual Reality into your classroom, Google Expeditions is the way to do it. The Expeditions app allows teachers to select an area for students to explore through a mobile device and a virtual reality headset. Teachers set up the location based on their content (there are a countless number to choose from), and then let students explore! There are panoramic pictures, as well as 360 degree views of the world's most spectacular places. This will transform the student from their current location to 360 degree paradise location that relates to content and offers a terrific experience.In our district, we have a kit that can be reserved for checkout. Students who have participated in an expedition has highly regarded it as a positive and immersive learning experience.

Have a Wonderful Spring Break!

Whether you get to physically visit one of the marvelous places from the previous sites, or you're just enjoying a quiet, quality week close to home, I wish you the safest and most relaxing Spring Break. The dash to the finish line will be here sooner than we may realize! Enjoy your week off!

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