Google Earth Bound CAGTI17

Posted on Aug 6, 2017 in Connect2Tech | 0 comments

Google Earth Bound CAGTI17

What is CAGTI? This is the acronym for California Geo Teacher Institute, one of many Google workshops held at one of their campuses. And it is by invitation only. Still adjusting to disappointment of not getting into the Washington DC Innovator Academy, and frustrated because the one in Sydney was being held the first week of school, I was more than a little thrilled to be accepted to this cohort. Held in Mountain View (bonus!) for 3 days, this was the highlight of my summer PD.

The Google Campus is unbelievable. It’s everything you hear about and more. The toilets are an experience (yes you read correctly, toilets), the food super yummy and the alcohol flowed freely at the end of the work day. There was plenty of free Google swag and more to be purchased at the Google store. My favorite part (other than the toilets) were the friendships and connections made with other Google educator freaks like myself. I ended up sharing a room with a teacher who was currently working in Warsaw! My memories of Carla’s sense of humor during our stay at America’s Worst Value Inn will last a lifetime. Hotel prices in Mountain View deserve their own post.

We spent 3 days playing with VR headsets and Google Cardboard, creating everything from MyMaps to AR experiences and learning to film in 360. I could write about everything but Stacy Behmer wrote an excellent blog post that sums it up. I chose to showcase my new knowledge to the Google Site I am creating about my trip to Australia. You can see how the tools work and can be used in Sites by going to my “showcase” website Australia 2017. ┬áIt’s still a work in progress but I am getting there.

Many tools were learned but here are my top 3:

  1. Google Earth Engine. I did not know this existed. This tool allows you to search for anyplace in the world and pull up a time lapse video, satellite view. I knew the Gold Coast had grown since I left but seeing it populate and expand on demand is amazing. Use this in history class to demonstrate changes in various areas over the the last 32 years.
  2. My Maps. In my class we talk a lot about stories. Everything we do is based on a story. Using an interactive map to tell a story is so powerful and a creative way to begin the journey to developing a documentary. Many of my students travel for sports, choir, theater and other activities. What better way for them to share the experience with everyone than with MyMaps. Best of all it is collaborative and can be added as a layer on Google Earth.
  3. Tour Builder. I’ve been in love with this since I saw a presentation by Doug Robertson at CUE. Since then me and my fellow teachers have used it to get students excited about a novel or a trip. We have also assigned students to build them when they go on vacation or a school trip and add video, images, and text to describe their experience. It allows them to reflect on their experience and share it with the world.

The Geo Institute is held every year and if you get a chance to apply, don’t procrastinate, just do it!

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