Google Tour Builder

I have blogged before about Google Tour Builder because it is a powerful classroom tool which students like to use because it is real. I am using it again this year and am offering you a different video to watch. Both videos explain well how to use the Tour Builder. As a French teacher it helps me help students get some authentic learning and also have a good reason to use their French. QuickTime will record their screen as   Tour Builder plays so they can import it into iMovie or some other software to enhance the tour even further.

I have just been through an odd experience in that Chrome will not run the Tour Builder Google Earth extension. I downloaded it but Chrome, a Google browser ,doesn’t seem to want to support Tour Builder any more. I am now running it on Safari and it works really well.

Take a Google Earth Flight

Google Earth flight simulatorYou need your 3D glasses, your armchair and a downloaded version of Google Earth. Windows 8 does not have an app in the app store. Once you have installed the Google Earth app onto your desktop, you go to Tools in the menu bar and click on the flight simulator. Choose your plane and start destination. The app will then come up with a tour guide bottom left and the images will be shown across the screen. Quite fun, really. Check out the rest of Google Earth because there is a lot more on offer than the flight simulator. I tried turning off the 3D but it doesn’t seem to want to co operate. I am not a fan of special 3D effects. That is what real life is for.

Teacher apps toolbox

inquiry learning appsSo what would you recommend as the essential classroom apps? I’ll think about it and put my own post up on that soon, but TeachThought has come up with some teacher app essentials and then Inquiry Learning essential apps. If you need to get started then these apps are worthy of consideration. If you are already up and running with your iPad thinking and learning in education then you can look at them and see what you think. Are there any missing? Are there ones you prefer not to use? My year 9 students have certainly made excellent use of Google Earth for their latest presentations which were about discovering Quebec and presenting it in French and English. Those who had mastered the Google Earth tools came up with stunning but very informative presentations which had everyone looking and learning. Some apps just know how to be the best and some apps have ready appeal for students. Others are worth persevering with until you learn to get the best out of them. If you haven’t been to the TeachThought site before, I highly recommend it. It is very practical in its approach and always comes up with good resources and ideas for the classroom.

Google Earth for Class Assignments

I would never have thought of it. This is one of the unexpected bonuses of the One to One laptop programme in our school. I can go in properly prepared and have my lesson planned and then find my students are coming at the assignment from a different angle and I have to quickly rethink and decide on the spot how to manage that. It means we negotiate, they share, we learn. We all learn. I had wanted them to get 10 pictures of Adelaide because they were going to advertise it in French. I assumed they would use Google images for their searches for pictures because they always do. I would have gone to Flickr, so I was prepared to show them that. Half the class went to Google images as I had thought. The other half wanted to go to Google Earth and thought it was blocked and that the MacBooks wouldn’t let it run. I connect my MacBook to the white board so students can see what I am doing. There is a boy in the class who is very good on a computer. So I went on my laptop and he was on his and within a couple of minutes I could see that we needed to approach it differently though Google maps, get the download of Google Earth and away we went because the boy instinctively manipulated it better than I did. The students who wanted to use Google Earth could hear the conversations, see what I was doing and in 5 minutes we were all happy. Those on Google images just ignored us…so I haven’t yet shown them Flickr. What they then did was take screen captures of the things around Adelaide they wanted for their photos. That then meant we could all learn how to do screen captures on a Mac ( command, shift, 3) and then we could learn to put that into Adobe Photoshop and crop it and change the image size. This is not French but that was about 15 mins of my lesson which I won’t have to reteach. They have to write a sentence for each picture and what pleased me was they remembered the sentence patterns I had taught them for our virtual trip to Bordeaux. They were remembering all their city vocabulary and they were creating some really good sentences based on what we did on Quebec and Bordeaux. Somehow the Google Earth thing had brought together all their learning. The bonus for me is I can now suggest to other students and classes to use Google Earth for their assignments. Since it is dynamic it held student interest really well and they moved themselves onto their French. Next lesson we look at Keynote and how to convert that to a movie to get some really good visual effects.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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