Computing for Kids's Blog

Technology Integration Ideas for the Elementary School Teacher

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  • About Me

    I have been in the field of educational technology since 1988. I began as a computer teacher for Futurekids Inc. in Los Angeles. Soon after, I purchased one of their first franchises, which I operated for three years. In 1997, I began Computing for Kids, a computer enrichment program for young children, which operates in local private schools in Southern California. I earned a Master’s degree in educational technology in 2008 and for the past four years, I have served as the technology specialist at a private elementary school, teaching students in grades 1 – 5 in a computer lab setting.

    My goal with this blog is to provide elementary classroom teachers with Internet resources that will enhance their curriculum. Some websites are very simple to integrate into a lesson, and others require a more thorough approach. But there is something for every level of comfort with technology.

    Please let me know what you think!

World Geography with Google Earth

Posted by Computing for Kids on September 14, 2010

What is it? Google Earth is a free download that has proven to be a classroom essential for bringing world geography lessons to life.  Google Earth lets you fly anywhere around the world to view satellite pictures of geographic features, roads, buildings, and even galaxies in outer space (Google Sky) and the depths of the ocean (Google Ocean).

I have used this software with grades 3 – 5 in the computer lab with great success.  Students are always excited when they can zoom in on their own house or school!  To reinforce the 7 continents with my 3rd graders, I had students type in the name of each continent and zoom in to that region of the world.  Fourth graders are studying our state of California.  They locate such landmarks as the state capitol, the California missions, and Sutter’s Fort.  Using the placemark feature in Google Earth, students can place a pin (similar to a pushpin) at each of these locations, and include a brief description of each that will open when the pushpin is clicked.  With the fifth grade classes, students choose three places they would love to visit outside of the United States.  After placing a pin in each location, they research some facts about these locations, such as the language, geography, culture, and climate.  They can attach these facts to each pin.  To tie in math concepts such as distance, students use the ruler feature on Google Earth to measure the distance between their favorite places, or between their home and one place they would love to visit.Why use it?: Google Earth allows  students to view their world in spatial terms, which gives a better understanding of geographic and cultural similarities and differences.  It can be used for many different subject areas beyond the obvious ones such as geography and social studies.  Math, English, and even science can be taught using this amazing tool.

For great tips on how you can use it in your classroom, visit Google Earth for Educators!


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