The Google Maps Mania blog recently did a post on the educational uses of Google Maps and Google Earth. For those who have not experimented with these services, Google Maps is Google’s web-based mapping program (similar to MapQuest or Yahoo! Maps), and Google Earth is a desktop-based program (that still uses the internet) that combines various satellite maps to create a highly detailed rendering of the entire planet.
Both of these programs have numerous applications in the world of education. Here is a link to an MP3 from EdTechTalk.com discussing uses of Google Maps in the classroom. It is amazing to think about how this technology can potentially change the classroom. Even the early Yahoo! Maps or MapQuest versions made a huge difference in the accessibility and usefulness of mapping technologies. I remember plotting out my path from airport to hotel to audition site and back with MapQuest and printing it into a packet. This seemed amazing at the time, and programs like the current Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, and Google Earth take it even further.
Here is a recent post from TechLearning.com on using Google Maps mashups in the classroom. This is a really interesting listing of some current mashups. All of these mashups are interesting, but be sure to check out the New York City Interactive Transit Map and the Gmaps pedometer.
The Google Earth Blog also has some great information on educational uses for the program:
It is close to the end of summer in the northern hemisphere. Many kids are heading back to school after a summer break. For those of you who are educators and have thought, or heard, that Google Earth would make a good tool for geography lessons – let me suggest you look closer. Google Earth (GE) is not only a great tool for geography – it is a tool for tying all kinds of information to location. When you first load GE you have a wealth of information available at your fingertips. Thousands of aerial and satellite photos, dozens of layers of information: city names, country borders, airport locations, road maps, National Geographic content, volcanoes, and more. Since Google Earth is an intuitive and fun tool, I believe you could use it as a visualization and educational tool for almost any subject. Once students prepare their own content, GE can be used to present their work – or even share their work with the world.
Check out the complete post here.