Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

GTA Boulder Notes: Afternoon Part 2

These are my notes from the Google Teacher Academy, in our second afternoon session. All resources are linked from

Now hearing from Jerome Burg
resource links from Jerome
Google Lit Trips were born at the first GTA
– Carol Anne McGuire forced me to go public with this! (another ADE)

Jerome has retired from the public school systems
– I can give you a good tool, but if you’re not doing good pedagogy with it it’s not going to help
– it is not the tool that makes the great lesson, it can help, but it can be like buying Tiger Wood’s putter and your golf game
– since retiring I’ve realized we need to have a revolution in learning much faster than we’re experiencing now

Google Lit Trips is an act of passion now
– I gave 38 years to teaching English
– I like to share Make Way for Ducklings as an example, even if you are a secondary teacher
– turn on the 3D buildings in Boston, also terrain
– I don’t like using the play button, it makes it too fast

Google Earth is NOT a map, it’s an environment
– when you see step 8, scariest part of the book, when the ducks cross the busy highway
– very dramatic to see what an impact the 3D buildings can make

I don’t want my Google Lit Trips to be another Cliff Notes or Sparknotes
– originally I didn’t have any idea this would have interest to elementary teachers

Now showing By the Great Hornspoon
– take some hints from movies in designing these: take a long short / establishing shot
– you can use very specific placemarkers when you know a URL for the image
– for Chapter 1, the pier you see in Google Earth is the same in the popup image

Now starting to emphasize open ended questions as part of the Google Lit Trip

Big then teachers (esp secondary) need to learn is: EVERYTHING is cross-curricular!

Something I learned about vocabulary: if you give kids 20 terms and ask them to look up their definitions, they will learn NOTHING!
– different kids have accumulated different vocabularies in their experiences
– so knowing or not knowing a word is not about how smart you are, it is more often about your experiences
– links to vocabulary words sometimes go to PHOTOS and not just textual definitions

Google doc/book recommendation from Jerome: “23 Interesting Ways to Use Google Earth in the Classroom” – British Teacher, Tom Barrett started it, several others around the world have contributed to it.

Jerome’s favorite is on “The Kite Runner” but he is working with a book author on one new that is going to include LOTS more backstory for the book

[HOW COOL IS THIS?!?! I LOVE THIS.] is about using Google Earth in the real world

Granada High School’s International Cuisine Cookbook (KMZ file)

In India everyone knows about the Taj Mahal, but how about the Lotus Temple
– kids discovered this when they were studying India
– they were “wowing” themselves with their discoveries

I spent 10 days teaching kids in Honolulu at Barack Obama’s high school how to use GPS to do a hike, take photos, and log their waypoints before going to Costa Rica
– Under Tools you go to GPS, it sucks out the waypoints that you marked

Have you seen “The Prado” in Madrid? (3D Google Earth building)
– see paintings in high definition

You can’t get that close to those paintings when you visit it in person


Now we are hearing about Google Sketchup from Ken Shelton
Presentation resources

Google Sketch Up Crib Sheet

Learn Google Sketchup by using keyboard shortcuts (use this cheat cheet!)

Sketchup is 3D modeling software, it is NOT animation
– you can use the tour/look-around feature to animate
– student motivation is a big reason to use Google Sketchup

The minute I even draw a cube in Google Sketchup, I win
– kids are motivated to CREATE, CREATE, CREATE when they use Google Sketchup

Project based learning and Sketchup are natural fits for each other

Original fee was $500 to use Google Sketchup after the initial 8 hour trial period

I have used Sketchup extensively in school
– I believe in PBL and creative expression

Assignment example: design your ideal desk or chair, drawn to scale, has to be something you could take to a wood or metalmaker and they could create
– you must include project description
– product value (use Herman Miller chairs as examples)
– look at how real estate is written up for sale, write your marketing flyer,

How many of us hear kids say, “this classroom sucks” or “this school sucks?”
– what does your ideal classroom look like?

My favorite assignment
– I teach middle schoolers in CA
– kids don’t get geometry into 10th grade
– I would bet I can teach geometry better out of Google Sketchup than anyone can using just a textbook
– I gave students all formulas for geometric shapes

was a function of taking something most people do with a textbook and paper, doing it in sketchup as a project, and publishing it in our local community

another example: build a water molecule

kids designed our entire campus and uploaded it to the 3D Warehouse
– kind of light 3D clipart
– entire Whirlpool appliance product catalog is in there!

Design the molecular structure of different chemicals
– examples shown: caffeine, water – callouts included

Now showing his school that was designed
– was rejected for inclusion in the 3D warehouse because of 2 things: we didn’t photo texture the buildings and we included grass

Google’s goal is to have a 3D model for every building on the planet
– it is going to take a variety of different models to do this
– submitted models are reviewed by an operator who uses street view, panoramio, and other things to determine the match
– for buildings we like to have walls be photo-textured
– not including the 3D trees and grass is because it takes too long to render them

within a couple hours of submitting a model, you will be able to see your feedback, including reasons for rejection if it was not accepted

Now hearing from the lead developer for Google Sketch-Up
– everyone came from CAD background, it is complex and expensive ($5000) and it takes a long time to learn
– we created sketchup to be easy to use and fast
– person who is standing at the origin of sketchup is always someone from the development team
– reason for that is to give you a sense of scale
– everything in Sketchup is done to scale

starting with rectangle tool and drawing the building footprint
– can also type in the numbers and hit enter to change size
– all viewing commands on the mouse, can rotate around and zoom in and out, also pan around
– can change your view as you are drawing

Grab push/pull tool to give the building a little height
– we’re already drawing in 3D

Now using the pencil tool
– drawing line at the top, it snaps to
– can drag it up to create a pitched roof

can draw a vertical line on the side of the house
– then just drag out

We find kids with Autism just love Sketchup
– it gives kids an outlet for spatial thinking

Can import digital photos that we have taken of the building
– can use them as texture
– can right click on texture and put on push pins

application can handle free forms, not just recti-linear forms like those we were pre-disposed for

Vans shoes used Sketchup

Can add section planes to add details, like different floors in a building

Can add text that you want
– as you rotate, the text always remains visible

You can make movies in Sketchup by creating scenes, in the pro version
– each scene is a keyframe
– sketchup will animate between the different scenes

Go to File – Export – Animation (can choose QT movie)

NEW PRESO: now hearing from Kern Kelly on Google Maps
Presentation file

Kern usually presents in this order: Maps, Earth, Sketchup

someone has a Craig’s list mashup for apartments, after that Google really opened up maps for mashups

showing how to add a pin to a Google Map
– adding title and text
– and links, pictures (don’t upload, paste link from Picassa web albums)

You can have your own maps
– you can collaborate with others, individuals
– can add HTML code

it does NOT take regular embed code
– there is a way to get a youtube or Google Video
– NOT a way to embed something like a Voicethread

lots of pins will have lots of information and look like webpages in their own right
– can draw lines, shapes, lines along roads

Can embed a google map pretty easily now into a Google Site
– still very interactive when you embed it
– example of a student project about a flood in Kern’s area

In Maine we just got streetview last year
– not quite 360 degrees
– can drag around the icon of the guy on the lower map, and where you see a blue line is where there are streetview images available

Google sometimes does blur out some logos in photos in streetview

Google View Tricycles have taken many of these images!

Google Earth will make a tour of several KML files which have been imported

3D Perspective in the Maps API for Flash!

Remember Gap Minder? You’re looking at multiple layers of information and being able to take it in visually
Hans Rolling’s TED Talk– he created Gap Minder

City Tours is still in Google Labs
– you can build your own field trip for different cities
– now there is not much ability to work with it / have user created content

Mashup: Dave Rumsey Historical Maps
– overlays with Google earth
– can change transparency to overlays


Kern has created the website Student Showcase

iViewCards (?)- built into the SD card is WiFi – take a picture and it uploads where you want it to

people are using iPhone cameras, embedded in the image are the live directions to the next subway
– iPhone has compass, GPS, and accelerometer

AR-media™ Plugin for Google SketchUp™
– amazing way to use computer camera to have Google Sketch up drawn objects

We still have 1 more afternoon series of sessions to go!

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , ,

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes’ free newsletter. Check out Wes’ video tutorial library, “Playing with Media.” Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on

On this day..



, , ,