Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Archive for December 3rd, 2008

Getting more out of Google Earth

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 3, 2008

Admit it. When you first got your new IWB, was Google Earth one of the things you explored?

There’s nothing quite like spinning a massive globe on your whiteboard. I used Google Earth to look at satellite images of my city, explore maps, and take my class on a 3D tour of the Grand Canyon. But after that, I wasn’t sure what else I could do with Google Earth and eventually forgot about it.

My interest in using it in the classroom has been re-ignited by the following blogs: Google Earth Blog (not surprisingly, Digital Geography, and Ollie Bray, a Scottish geography teacher.

Google Earth has some amazing functions to explore on your IWB. To be honest, some of the content on these blogs is over my head (due to my lack of geography knowledge). But I’ve been picking up on interesting ideas which I’ll share here.

Firstly, it’s worth updating your copy of Google Earth as there have been lots of improvements. To do this, go to the Help menu> Check for updates online.


Here’s three quick easy things to do with the top menu bar of Google Earth in your classroom:


1. Sunlight view. Click this button to see what part of the world is in darkness at the moment. Then spin the globe or drag the time bar in the right hand corner to watch it change.


2. Sky mode. Click on this button to see constellations in Google.


3. Google Ruler. Find the part of the world you want to measure then click on the ruler. Choose the path option. Click on the start of your path, then click the globe every time you want to change direction. Google ruler displays the length of your path on the screen. Ideas for measuring in the primary classroom include:

  • My walk to school
  • Driving into the city
  • Popular local walks
  • Perimeter of the school

I would always use prediction first if doing these as a whole class activity. Children could write their predictions, or put their hand up to separate the class into groups [“Who thinks the perimeter of the football field is less than 400m? More than 400m?”]



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Resizing windows when watching Youtube videos

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 3, 2008

Youtube is a fantastic resource to use in the classroom – but a contentious one. When I wanted to show Youtube videos to primary students, my main concern was inappropriate comments, video descriptions, or related videos appearing on the screen. I can preview the content, but an appropriate video can be spoilt by these other elements on a page.

There are a variety of ways around this, including downloading videos and showing them in a flipchart instead. This is a must if Youtube is banned at your school. But for those teachers who do have access, this one is so simple – I can’t believe I hadn’t used it before.

Here’s a Youtube video with the window as normal. Can you spot the problem? 😉


To hide the rogue image, click on the restore down button.

This is in the top right hand corner of the window.restore-windows1

Now you will need to move your cursor to the bottom right hand corner of the screen. It will change into a double headed arrow. doublearrow

Click and drag the window until only the video and control bar are visible.


You can change the size of the window before you navigate to the youtube video to avoid any unnecessary sightings!

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