Geography I Spy

Today we have the last session in a series of Geography I Spy programs. We copied this idea from Paul Hieronymous. Paul even VCed with us to help us get this program going.

Kevin starts the session zooming in on our location and the school location to get the students familiar with Google Earth. For each location the students guess, he zooms in and gives some background information and clues to help the students guess. Each zoom out is accompanied by even more clues.

Today’s session is with a 6th grade class. They are studying Western Hemisphere geography this year. The teachers’ submitted the locations ahead of time. We tried to get clues from the teachers ahead of time as well, but that didn’t work so well. Some of the locations for this class were:

  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Georgetown, Guyana
  • Havana, Cuba

We ran into a few issues with some of the schools’ whose bandwidth is pretty jammed. But if we skipped the zooming and just showed a still screen it worked fairly well.

We decided that 2nd grade is too young for this activity. The 2nd grade class that participated didn’t guess any of them. But the teacher still thought it was a useful exercise. “I think the kids really enjoyed it. It gave them a way to apply what we are learning in social studies to the “real world” so to speak. We study cities, urban areas, etc. and this will help the kids remember those areas better.

Each session was 30 minutes long. While we addressed geography skills and exposed the teachers to videoconferencing, the session was also professional development. Several of the teachers mentioned that they learned how to use Google Earth with their students and plan to do that in the future.

About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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