Monday, June 15, 2009

UA Geography hosts Google Earth institute

The Alaska Geographic Alliance / Google Earth Summer Institute takes place on the UAF campus June 15-19. This professional development opportunity brings together K-12 educators from Nome, Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Wasilla to gain the knowledge and skills to navigate Google Earth, to learn how to integrate Google Earth into a range of subjects and grades using existing KML files and lesson plans, to assist teachers in creating their own dynamic Google Earth projects and to begin to create a storehouse of Google Earth K-12 lesson plans that the UA Geography Program will make available on the web.

The course will focus on Alaska-specific content, which will be used at future school in-services and teacher education courses throughout the state. “Google and the UAGP are committed to hosting and growing a comprehensive source of Google Earth files and standards-based lesson plans on the web for Alaskan educators,” said Katie Kennedy, UAGP education and outreach coordinator. “This is an effective tool to keep students engaged and involved,” Kennedy said. “It has the capacity to enliven the classroom and enrich the curriculum.”

Instructors are Tina Ornduff, Google senior technical writer and head of Google’s Geo Education team, John Bailey, adjunct instructor UAGP and Arctic Region Supercomputing Center, and Kennedy.

Participants are school district instructional technology professionals and teachers. “We targeted these educators not only because their prior knowledge will allow us to cover more ground, but also because we hope to reach as many students as possible through this effort and these participants touch countless students in several schools during the course of each school year,” Kennedy said.

The institute is funded by the National Geographic Society as part of the UAGP’s ongoing Alaska Geographic Alliance K-12 Education Network. This event is a continuation of the UAGP’s collaboration with Google’s Geo Education team which began in 2008. The collaboration began with seven Google Geo Education team members working with UAGP faculty and staff to develop Alaska-specific K-12 content and programs. The joint program toured schools in the fall of 2008 in Barrow, Nome, and Kotzebue.

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