A GOOGLE EARTH-BASED GRAND TOUR OF THE MOST IMPORTANT GEOSCIENCE LOCALITIES ON EARTH AND OTHER PLANETS
|• Plates and Plumes||• Rocks and Regions||• Geology through Time|
|• The Mapping Challenge||• National Parks||• Magical Mystery Tour|
|• Resources and Hazards||• Planets and Moons||• Most Popular|
We implemented a Mars Tour for the first time in Spring 2014. Students in thirteen 32-person lab sections were given either a Google Mars tour with text and images in placemark balloons, or identical text and images in a PDF document. In one smaller (approx. 12-student) honors section, there was time for students to do both.
Preliminary impressions based on informal classroom observations are that students using Google Earth were more engaged in peer discussion and exploration whereas students reading the PDF interacted mainly to enquire whether it was time to scroll down the document. In the the honors section, some students expressed boredom with the PDF version but others were somewhat overwhelmed by the interactive assignment and expressed a preference for the less demanding PDF document.
We conclude that creating interactive tours on Google Earth is worth the effort but that students need to be proficient in basic navigation in order to maximize the benefit.