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Google Earth API and StrataLogica: Changing Education

(Cross-posted on the Google Lat Long Blog)

Editors note:
The Google team encounters fun and new ways of using the Google Earth and Maps API. Here’s an example of how a century old educational map and globe publishing company realized more students wanted to learn online and transformed their teaching methods to include a program built on the Google Earth API. Don Rescigno, from Herff Jones | Nystrom, explains how students and teachers benefit from technology in the classroom with StrataLogica.

With today's technology enabling information to travel at a much more rapid rate than in the past, students feel more advanced than what many of us can remember from our own days in school. Elementary school students use a school computer, manage multiple usernames and passwords, work with spreadsheets, develop their own blogs and websites, and more. They’re tech savvy and they’re connected.

The challenge for educators is to use tools and resources that take advantage of students' advanced technological skills. Combining educational content with technology like the Google Earth API gave us the opportunity to foster a new and immersive experience that changes the way students see our world.

StrataLogica—combined with the Google Earth API —provides students with powerful tools to visualize and comprehend the ways in which geography has impacted events, politics and populations throughout human history. Students have the ability to see current events, taking place around the world, from their classroom.

Using a computer or interactive whiteboard, students uncover layers of educational content and can then drill down to Google Earth’s satellite imagery, see what’s actually there, and even use historical imagery to compare then and now. Recently, I had to play the role of a teacher when one of my children overheard a CNN report on Japan and asked, “Dad, what made the earthquake and tsunami?” The ability to access and interact with so many resources—aerial imagery of the earthquake, videos, and photos posted by Japanese citizens, local news stories—allowed me to teach him about the Earth’s processes and their impact. It helped to create a better understanding beyond the news story. It fostered critical thinking and a global perspective.

Like so many with children, I want to see students learning in a new way that
inspires them. It’s important for our future generation to understand how we are all connected — to think
globally and comprehend world impact. We want them to truly become global
citizens. StrataLogica and the Google Earth API are helping change the way students see the world; they can “fly” to any location in a matter of seconds, zoom in to imagery and see street views of historical sites that they may never have an opportunity to visit, embed videos and photos, and experience their own virtual field trips.

If you’re an educator interested in teaching geography, history, earth science and
more, visit to learn more.

Posted by Natasha Wyatt, Google Earth and Maps Enterprise Team