“Zoom in on my house!” students yell out enthusiastically as the teacher works with the 3D rendering of the earth.

Google Earth and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth are wonderful software applications for use in the classroom.

Both are available for download, but are also accessible from the web:

These applications give users the possibility to explore cities and landmarks, as well as general mapping. Both have 3D rendering capabilities; however, Microsoft Virtual Earth has the edge in terms of clarity and detail of the buildings. See below Manhattan-GE and Manhattan-VE.

Manhattan-GE

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Manhattan-VE

nyc-vea.jpg

Google Earth incorporates many layers with including options to see results for local dining and lodging as well as incorporating shared content from YouTube and National Geographic.

Both have options for traffic updates…

Google Earth, the newest version 4.2, also allows the user to view the stars via the Hubble Telescope.

Google Maps has incorporated a new “Street View” where the user can “travel” down the street.

It’s easy to spend HOURS on both… but more importantly it’s easy to use these tools in the classroom for mapping and for bringing the world to the students in your class. So, if you haven’t yet, check them both out and start using them today…

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