Teaching/Tech Tuesdays--Google Lit Trips

When I first discovered Google Earth in 2005, I spent a lot of time making myself nauseated by zooming all over the place, clicking on random pictures, looking up my home address, and making the Earth spinning wildly with a sweep of my mouse.  I didn't really think of the educational implications.  Kind of like when my friends and I were at a dinner party in 2000 and heard of a cool search engine called Google that could find every mention of our names online. Who knew it would take over the world in less than a decade?  

A year later, a high school English teacher named Jerome Burg wanted to see if he could use Google Earth to help his students map characters' journeys.  This idea blossomed into Google Lit Trips.  

This phenomenal resource allows students to create lit trips for the books they are reading.  They span every grade level:  K-5 (fifteen books, including Make Way For Ducklings and Priscilla and the Hollyhocks), 6-8 (fourteen books, including The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Chasing Lincoln's Killer), 9-12 (twelve books including Candide and The Kite Runner), and Higher Ed (seven books, including Blood Meridian and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).  Please note that each Google Lit Trip is available in the upper right hand corner.  You will see a link says "Download" and then the title of the book and/or ".kmz file."  

I've used the Google Lit Trips for Macbeth and Night in my classes.  This first screenshot of Google Earth shows an aerial view our planet as  you look at Norway and Ireland.  You can see Dunsinane in the center.

Students can click on different areas and learn more about each location.  When you click on "Ireland," a pop up window appears that includes a mention of Ireland and lines from Act 1 that graphically explains how Macbeth killed the traitor, Macdonwald.  When you zoom in, you can also see pictures that people added of the landscape and nearby towns.  This creates an accurate idea of setting for the play.

Dunsinane is given the Google Sketch Up treatment.  Students created this 3-D version of the castle where Macbeth awaits his fate.  

If you click on Dunsinane, more information about the play and a photo of Dunsinane Hill appears.  

This is also a great resources for younger students.  Here's a screenshot from the Google Lit Trip for Make Way for Ducklings:

I've used Google Lit Trips and Google Earth on occasion in my classroom, but I'm very excited that I will be learning a lot more about these tools at the Google Geo Teacher Institute in a few weeks.  I'm looking forward to sharing about that experience in a future post.


AppGal said...

This is awesome! I have never heard of Lit Trips before...will definitely be using this from now on!

Julie of All Trades said...

@AppGal It's funny how the kids are so amazed when they watch me zoom around. It's perfect for my low-tech room b/c I can hook my laptop up to the t.v. and show them the lit trips. I would love to hear what you think after you use it in your class!

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