Thursday, August 4, 2016

Google Geo Teacher Institute #CAGTI16

Made it #CAGTI16!
Initial Thoughts

Back on April 30th, I was still beaming from our big website and #VRTour launch.  I was so proud of what our students did, as I shared their project #FVvr on a Ricoh Theta group on Facebook.  Kim Randall, commented on how she loved to see an educational purpose and project that uses the Theta S camera.  She suggested that I apply to the Google Geo Institute, even though there were only a couple of hours left to apply.  I sat down, focused, and typed out my application.  I hit the submit button, and waited...

A couple of weeks later I found out that I was accepted, and I began to plan out my trip after I watched The Internship, of course.

It has now been a week since the wonderful madness has ended, and as I reflect I think about how many Googley individuals I met, how many incredible things I learned, how many Twitter friends I got to finally meet in person, and how many extraordinary ideas that came to mind.  I find myself in refreshed and in complete awe from these two plus days.  I mean where else can you learn about the newest Geo tools, meet like minded people, and become Pegman?

When we began I ended up at the #TeamHEREoes table with the brilliant Jerome Burg who is the godfather of Google Lit Trips.  Also at my table were Richard Anderson, Jordan O'Donnell, Sharon Mumm, Leslie Fagin, and Brooke Whitlow.  We chatted and shared about ourselves, and I quickly became an enormous fan of everyone in attendance.  The different things that each of these colleagues, and everyone else, are doing are truly amazing and innovative.  I am extremely humbled and honored to be a part of this cohort as I represent Vancouver iTech Preparatory and Vancouver Public Schools.  I look forward to continuing my relationships with everyone as we learn and share from one another.

Day 1:  

Google Arts & Culture formerly Google Cultural Institute


Visit it online HERE!

Get the iOS app HERE!

Get the Android app HERE!

I have been a big fan of the Google Cultural Institute for awhile now.  I have used it from time to time in my class, including this past year.  This past year we used it as a jumping off point for our project on the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.  Our goal was to create a an interactive tour of the site that can be used to tour the site and learn about its history through its artifacts.  The Google Arts & Culture program helped our students see what is out there already along with conducting some research.  It was an extremely valuable tool.

During the session, we learned about the gigapixel technology so that users can zoom in on many artworks with extreme detail.  We also explored a couple of differnt art galleries using virtual reality and Google Cardboard.  Part of the session we explored the user interface and talked about how to navigate through the site so that we can show our students.  There are so many possibilities with the site that every teacher should be able to go on there and find something to use and tie in with.  I like the World Wonder Project, and will be trying to integrate it into my World Studies class this next year.  Using the app and a Google Cardboard device you can now virtually tour some of these amazing museums right in your classroom.  The new app is truly exciting and I believe transformational for education.

An Hour(ish) of KML Coding

I was very excited for my second session on the first day.  With Google Earth Pro being free, it opens the door to many new possibilities for many educators around the globe.  KML coding is something that I know a little bit about, and something that I really wanted to dive into to better understand some more intense applications.  This session was fantastic as we learned how to edit some placemarks to change the image along with the size.  I can definitely see myself teaching this to my students so that they can create and edit their own maps and Google Earth tours.

The second part of the session revolved around collecting images and information from GIS data.  We were shown how to take images from different months and then put them together to create a timelapse using the time slider.  This is so valuable for the classroom.  As a teacher you can create some to show in your classroom, or you can teach your students how to do it.  This is what I view as powerful, because we can show students where and how to get the data then they can make their own animations to run and then explain.  As a teacher I plan on using this with water rights and access, climate change data, and census data.

The other tool that we learned about is Josh Williams' site  This site allows you to place different map data onto two differnt maps so that you and your students can compare the same area under differnt conditions.  It is super easy to use and as I see it very valuable to use in the classroom.  Being able to have students analyze population density data to a topographic of physical map allows students to see where people live which then opens up the larger discussion of why and how.  You can then look at climate change data to show how the earth and its population is changing.

Day 2:  


As day two began I was a bit overwhelmed from all of the incredible things that I experienced on the first day.  I wasn't sure what Timelapse was going to be about, but I was intrigued so I decided to attend.  This is definitely a tool that I was not aware of that I will be integrating into my classrooms.  What I love about this is the ease of use.  The data is already there from satellite imagery, the only downside is that it only runs from 1984 - 2012.  While this is limiting, there are still so many applications that can be done with this tool.  There is a built in editor right from the bottom of the home page.  You can zoom in and out easily and then add in the differnt views, change the speed of the timelapse, and even get embed code for your timelapse "recording."  Learn more about how to use it here.

One of the other exciting things we discussed is how we could have students use the tool to show change in a science class to showing economic growth and environmental changes made by humans and nature.  There are so many different applications for this, that any classroom should be able to find a use for this tool.

Oh the Places We'll Go with Google Street View

 Visit Street View online HERE!

 Get the Street View iOS app HERE!

 Get the Street View Android app HERE!

  Visit Cardboard online HERE!   

  Get the Cardboard iOS app HERE!   

  Get the Cardboard Android app HERE!   


To say that I am a fan of Google Street View would be an understatement.  I believe that this is one of the most important tools to come out of Google.  Street view allows the student to go and visit any place in the world, both above and below the oceans.  I have used this app many times in my class.  You don't have to have the phones with viewers to use Street View either.  I am a big proponent of using it on a student laptop or on an iPad.  For a bit more on my thoughts on this visit my earlier post on using 360º cameras and VR in the classroom.

The other tool that is now out for teachers to leverage is Google Expeditions.  If this program is unfamiliar to you you, you should really check it out.  Expeditions allows the teacher to take their students on a virtual field trip to many differnt and far off places across the globe.  The nice part of Expeditions is that the teacher has control over the image/scene that the students look at, and the teacher device has extra info and questions built into it to help guide the lesson.  Right now, the app is only available for Android devices, but we were told that an iOS app is on the way.   Google has also partnered with Best Buy to offer Expedition classroom kits for schools to purchase.  I am also excited to see some of the other enhancements coming soon.  Teachers and students should be able to begin to create their own Expeditions to share with one another.  This is the thing I am most excited about.

My partner David Midkiff and I had our students at iTech Prep worked on creating their own Street View Tour / Expedition with the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site this past year.  The process of creating an Expedition is extremely educational, informative, and promotes higher order thinking.  We called it #FVvr for Fort Vancouver Virtual Reality.  It allows users from all over the world to visit the fort and learn and differnt artifacts throughout the park.  Check out our finished project here at  Soon you, or your students, will be able to create your own Expedition tours, and THAT is something to get excited about!

Final Thoughts

These two plus days were truly extraordinary.  I left so energized with so many new ideas and thoughts.  Sometimes this can be a bad thing though, since I might not be able to pick a place to start.  You may be feeling the same way after reading this, but don't fret.  The biggest and best thing you can do is to pick ONE thing to try.  If you have questions of how to implement any of these things in your class, feel free to email me or check out Twitter with some of the other amazing educators like Beth Still, Jackie WhitingSylvia Duckworth, or my friends listed above.

Geography can be taught and integrated into any classroom, and doesn't have to be relegated to the social studies class.

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