I’ve always wanted to take my English 11 classes on a field trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. Google Earth offers a perfect opportunity for this sort of exploration. What better way to connect with the places mentioned in the play Macbeth? No consent forms, no collection of bus fare and admission, and more importantly, no fear of losing those Grade 8’s on the public transit! I swear, this has never happened to me!
First, you need to download Google Earth on your computer. Alternatively with an iPad you would need the Google Earth app and with Apple TV, you could wirelessly show your learners around Shakespeare’s birthplace at the beginning of the unit…and then walk through the village and later visit his grave. When you open the .kmz file with the Google Earth app, you can immediately visit the setting of Macbeth. You can zoom into Scotland and look at Dunsinane and see where Malcolm and Donalbain escaped to: England and Ireland.
For English teachers in particular, Google Lit Trips is a groovy way to see the literary world. You can either take a trip created by another teacher or student or you can create your own. With a computer, you would download a pre-made .kmz file and use Google Earth to open it. On the iPad, I have easily just tapped on “open with Google Earth”. Within seconds, you’re looking at Shakespeare’s tomb and you can see for yourself the inscription that has helped ensure his bones were not disturbed. You can zoom in or zoom out while you’re talking and sometimes there are pretty good pictures at particularly famous sites to click on.
Social Studies and History teachers will appreciate Google Historical Voyages and Events. Students and teachers have created .kmz files and you can see their maps and historical events on Google Earth. There you can find Slave trade routes, the Civil War, famous explorers’ routes, catastrophic events and more.