Take Your Literature Class on a Virtual Field Trip
Google takes your class on the road with the characters of several books commonly used in the Literature classroom. Using Google Earth, customized maps allow you to travel their footsteps and gain new insight about the cultures and lives that surrounded them. Here’s how to do it.
*Download Google Earth (free)
For those unaware, Google Earth is a 3d, satellite generated earth marked with anything from streets and borders to shops and restaurants. For our purposes it will show the path taken by characters in a specified book. Not only will it show us places, but the maps also contain information, artwork, photographs, videos and scale models.
*Visit Google Lit Trips website and download the customized map for your book of choice (free)
The website has maps for many books covering curriculum from Primary to beyond High School. Click the link for your grade at the top of the screen.
Now that you have Google Earth and a customized map, open the map to begin your journey. When it opens you will see something similar to this. Click thumbnail for larger view.
Some of the things you will see in the above picture include; the path (in purple) for the plot in the Aeneid, arrows that mark information about the particular point, and the window that pops up when you click the arrow.
When you open the map it may look a little cluttered. I disabled all of the options in the layers panel(bottom left panel) except boarders and terrain to eliminate some of the clutter.
From here you can explore the map manually by clicking the arrows to view the stored information or take the entire tour. To do this click on the play button in the Places panel on the left. As you arrive at locations with arrows you may want to click pause and click on the different arrows.
That’s it. You can tour any of the books archived on their webpage for free. Something else that I noticed was some documentation on student created maps. This could be an incredible opportunity for students to create visual presentations on the books that you cover in your class, especially if it’s a book that they don’t cover. Let us know if you use this in your classroom, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.