Thursday, December 6, 2012

Google Earth for Learning in History

Google Earth is well known for its amazing satellite views. But it is also a very powerful learning tool, allowing a large variety of multimedia information associated with location. The IB HL History I students experienced Google Earth as a learning tool while preparing for a debate on the Treaty of Versailles. Their task was to redraw the map after WWI based on the perspectives of the different countries negotiating the Treaty: France, Great Britain and USA. While redrawing the map, students had to provide justifications for the new borders using Google Earth placemarks that included text, images, videos and links to resources. Students worked collaboratively at two different levels. At first, that happened within the group representing a negotiating country as they split up the work to create the new borders. Then, as groups shared their maps with each other, the students had to look into the perspectives of the different countries to be prepared for the negotiation.

The use of laptops to create the maps was seamlessly weaved into the group work, as they supported discussion of the issues involved. Also during the debate, as students sat together within specialist topic groups or within country groups, the laptops were secondary to the lively discussion, serving as tools for reference and recording. This can be seen at the video below which shows the creation of maps with justifications, then the maps themselves and finally the debate. The result of the debate is a formal position paper with the resolutions form the mock Treaty of Versailles.

This project explores the ICT Standards of Creativity-Innovation and Communication-Collaboration, being the result of collaboration between the IB History HL I teacher, Mr. Stephenson, and the Academic Technology Coordinator, Ms. Meneghini.

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