Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The world is a really small place (I have it on my computer!)

One of the most fascinating developments in technology is the advent of Google Earth.

This software and the resources behind it make it possible to practically fly your spaceship to anywhere on the planet. A mapping system that gives aerial photography of any place on the earth, plus the skyward view of that destination or a view of the canyons of the oceans, is a real feat of genius. Type in your home address and watch the “fly by” application zoom from outer space to hover above your house and in Metropolitan areas even land in the street. There are a number of other applications that deliver information on practically anything an atlas can supply.

I have previously kept myself from real exploration of this software as I knew I would lose myself in the possibilities of curiosity. I responded with wonder and awe as Marzano (1997) identifies as exactly the “Habit of Mind” learners need to form productive mental habits. It would be easy for me to model this habit to my students when delivering a unit of work based on SOSE or Mathematics. Mapping and geography would be engaging when using this technology to measure distances between various locations the students know. Estimation and prediction are two obvious areas where this would be a compelling tool. In fact I would posit that this technology has far wider implications as stated by Brown (2002)“The new literacy, beyond text and image, is one of information navigation. The real literacy of tomorrow entails the ability to be your own personal reference librarian-to know how to navigate through confusing, complex information spaces and feel comfortable doing so. "Navigation" may well be the main form of literacy for the 21st century. Spatial awareness is a key factor in brain development and orientation an important skill whether it is physical or the projected dimension of systems like cyberspace, another example is the organising of information through graphic organisers).

Brown, J.S. (2002) Growing Up Digital: How the Web Changes Work, Education, and the Ways People Learn. Retrieved August 17 2009 from http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/FEB02_Issue/article01.html

Marzano R, J. (1997). Dimensions of Learning: Teacher's Manual (2nd Ed.). Colorado: McRel.

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