Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Another Tool to Share Research (with a Global View)

May26

Research is complete. Now what? How can students share their new found knowledge?

There are many possibilities…

And that is just a short list. (Please search out my blog for more details about each of these…many are apps for the iPad.)

This winter/spring, I came across another output method that I think has a lot of potential… and is very different from the above list: Tour Builder.

Tour Builder uses the power of Google Earth to tell a story. Originally, Tour Builder was created for veterans to log where they have been with photos and maps (so it’s fitting that I am sharing this tool around Memorial Day). The tool has been opened now for anyone to use.

I have been a proponent of Google Earth for a long time. However, I have found it to be rather challenging for elementary students to create something in the software. They have done well using a file created by a teacher in Google Earth that takes students to exact locations and views with embedded videos and pictures. To create such tours in Google Earth, is labor intensive. Most teachers who I have taught how to do this process have not made it a regular practice. That’s why I was so excited when I saw Tour Builder. It streamlines the process and scaffolds the steps. Finally, a map tool, that elementary kids can get some quick instruction on and then run with it! It also is a tool that teachers can create something to share with students, and they don’t mind updating or creating something else.

What I also like is that it is not just for social studies. We recently found this tool to be the perfect way to pull together Renewable Energy research for science. Honestly, we could have used any of the above projects to share. Yet, Tour Builder gave us the opportunity to put it all in a literal global perspective with easy to use image insertion (that pays attention to usage rights). Here is our blog with student work. I’d love to know what you think, and what other possibilities there are for this tool… I’m thinking creative writing… thoughts?

I don’t like to end on negative notes, but I must put out a few cons for this service before you run out and fire up your Chromebook because it won’t work. Tour Builder does not work on Chromebooks or Google Chrome. Also, students must have a Google account in order to make a tour. Our district has accounts for all students, so it’s a non-issue. Just something that you may have to work around. OK- now go get on a computer or laptop, and check it out!

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