The day started out rainy, I think the majority of Saturdays for ITA classes has been rainy, windy or cloudy. But that doesn’t stop the ITA students from attending classes. Today was a treat for the students since they had the option of choosing a class they were interested in. The classes ITA offered were Exposure, Skype, Audacity, Google Earth (mine), "Techy Kollege Kid Perks," Film Beginnings, and "America's Next Best Blogger."
The students came in like gang busters as usual ready to learn and try new adventures in the computer world hosted by ITA. I had a few lost souls in my class that should have been in another class but we ironed out the wrinkles and we were on course and engaged in our studies on time.
I had two classes for my Google Earth lesson; one in the morning and one in the afternoon with approximately ten students in each. I started off by introducing the students to what the Google Earth program is and how it receives the information we see from the satellites around our planet.
After pointing out the location of the tools, the “place” window, the "layers” window and the “3D viewer” screen, we took an auto-tour of the world provided by Google Earth. Afterwards, I asked the students to see if they could find their house and some of them did find their house, while others were interested in finding a place they moved from. Some other students then started to find where they were born.
I presented the students with Google Earth’s “place” window again and instructed them on how to create a folder in the “place” window and how to create place markers to any place on the globe in Google Earth. Then, students were to add at least five place markers into the folder. These marked places could have been places they would like to visit or places they were interested in.
After all the formal instructions were over, the students were allowed to go anywhere in the world they wanted to go in Google Earth and to try out some of the tools, layers and options available to them in the program.
The students clearly enjoyed this session. Once I set them free, they sure went to diverse places... While some stayed on earth and went exploring the globe, some went to the moon, some went to Mars, and others still were looking at the stars. Did you know that you can just keep zooming deeper and deeper into space!? In the end of each class, morning and afternoon, we all had come back to earth in Madison, Wisconsin then to the Computer Science building.
I’m not sure if the students felt the same way I did after I walked out of the building but it felt a little odd walking on the ground since a few minutes before I could be in Japan in less than a minute in Google Earth. Now, it was going to take me 20 minutes just to walk to my apartment in Madison!