Although the benefits of real field trips are undeniable, at the same time, they may be costly, challenging logistically and sometimes just not feasible at all. Virtual trips seem to be the answer. A Google Earth feature – Voyager brings a new dimension to virtual trips. Enjoy visualisation and geospatial strorytelling and “fly through landmarks and cities like London, Tokyo and Rome in stunning 3D, then dive in to experience them first hand with Street View.”1https://www.google.com/earth/education/explore-earth/.
Teamed up with partners such as National Geographic. NASA or PBS, Voyager gives teachers and students an opportunity to develop a range of skills, including research skills, reading and listening comprehension, writing and speaking , while exploring the otherwise inaccessible world.
So, don’t waste any more time and let your students explore. Below, some examples how I have used or am planning to use Voyager in my ESOL context.
- How climate changes affect different parts of the world. Click here.
- What schools and classroom look like around the world from London to the Himalayas here.
Watch a short clip demonstrating what students will see while exploring this topic.
- What home means in different cultures and different climates here. See the classroom activity suggested by google:
- Encourage them to get familiar with the world myths here or read fairy tales from all over the world here (like this lovely tale form Japan)
An example writing activity – Quick Write: Make a list of three elements of your local environment or culture that you could include in a fairy tale. (i.e. landmarks, geographical features, foods, traditions, commonly used objects) and/or Extended Writing: Write a fairy tale that takes place in your hometown. Use elements of your real world, magic, and the “rule of three”. Be sure to include all five plot elements in your story.
Both activities were suggested by Google. You will find more here.
- Invite your students to join a journalist Paul Salopek visiting the most remote corners of the world and sharing stories of the people living there. Click here.
- Let them test their knowledge of holidays across the globe here or of natural wonders in an interactive quiz here.
- Explore the real places immortalised by Vincent van Gogh in his paintings. Click here.
- Remember Martin Luther King’s legacy and visit places important in his life. Click here.
- Visit Balmoral Castle and other places important for Queen Elizabeth II. Click here.
So, download Google Earth, click the ship’s wheel on the left and have fun.