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Tool of the Month - Google Earth (February, 2013)

What is Google Earth?

Google Earth is a popular Web 2.0 tool which we use in our everyday life when, for example, checking traffic jams on https://maps.google.com. Google Earth can be applied in language classroom as well. The tool provides a vast variety of contextual materials that enable teachers to supply their lessons with authentic data and to motivate students.

To create lessons with Google Earth one needs to install it for FREE from http://www.google.com/earth/index.html. The tool is accessible from a PC or any mobile devices (so it might be implemented both in classroom and for home tasks). Google Earth Tutorials help to learn how to use different options of the tool.

Google Earth Options:

• Geo-tagging: GPS navigation
• Visualisation: photos, 3D models and virtual tours
• Links to supplementary materials: Wikipedia and National Geographic articles, Discovery and YouTube videos, UNESCO and Greenpeace sites, etc.

Aims of Google Earth Integration in Language Teaching:

• To visualize materials
• To provide reliable real-time data
• To engage students in language and communicative tasks
• To involve students in project and creative work
• To develop cross-curricular learning skills, e.g. info search and socio-cultural competence

Methods of Google Earth Integration in Language Teaching:

• Presentation of materials
• Language practice, e.g. vocabulary exercises on the following topics: environment, travelling, society, history, etc.
• Communicative tasks, e.g. development of speaking and writing skills: reports, iBrainstorm discussions and round tables on weather, animals, transport, migrations, etc. + role plays with tour planning, finding the way to particular places, etc.
• Research work within language and area studies classes based on geographical materials (e.g. borders, rivers, natural resources), economics and demographical data, statistics, infrastructure, etc.
• Digital storytelling tasks and web projects: Earth Outreach Project

Web resources on Google Earth:

• Case studies: Movies with Google Earth and Literature with Google Earth
• See also: Google Earth in Language Teaching - TIPS + Google Earth YouTube channel
Based on http://sitescontent.google.com/google-earth-for-educators (http://www.google.com/earth/educators - RUS)