Friday, May 25, 2012

Google World Wonders

Google has upgraded their "street view" and the benefit to educators is huge. You may have heard of the concept of the flipped classroom. In a nutshell, it's delivering the direct instruction part of your teaching outside of class (via online teaching, reading of content, etc) and moving "homework" into the classroom. Basically, it inverts the traditional teaching method. However, the flipped classroom is more than just showing a video at home. Google has really jumped on the bandwagon by creating the World Wonders Project. Click HERE for a YouTube video about the project.

Vicki Davis of the Cool Cat Teacher Blog has an outstanding blog post on the World Wonders Project. To read her whole post, click HERE. Most of the information I share with you here is what I learned from Vicki's blog.

Let's say a group of students choose to research the Palace of Versailles in France. This is what they will find at the project:

  • An overview of the palace which tells why it's important
  • The information link gives them information about why it's a monument and what important features the palace has
  • The video link gives them access to videos about the palace.
  • Getty images donated outstanding photos in the Photography section.
  • A link to Google Earth to explore the site's 3D model. (This is the only part that won't work on iPad. For a PC or Mac, you'll need the Google Earth plug-in installed).

For teachers wanting to incorporate this into their classroom, there are teacher guides provided for elementary and secondary. What I like most about this is that students can travel virtually anywhere in the world. It's never been easier to show images and video to expose students to places they've never been.

Here is a list of the projects available today:

  • U.S. Declaration of Independence (Independence Hall)
  • WWII (Hiroshima Peace Memorial)
  • Ancient Roman Life (Pompeii included)
  • Monarchism, architecture, and History of Versailles
  • the Industrial Revolution
  • the Italian Renaissance

You can also search by theme: archaeology, architecture, cities, historical sites, monuments, palaces, parks, places of worship, regions, and natural wonders.

Hope this lights a fire and gives you some ideas to try next year!