Google Earth Flights

I am re-teaching myself how to use Google Earth’s animation features because I found myself re-thinking my Louisiana folklore course for the fall. I had to put in my book order last week, at long last, and I could not find a good Louisiana history text that I felt comfortable using. I have, in the past, used some of Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s “Louisiana: A History” series, but I no longer feel comfortable doing so, for a variety of reasons, the chief of which is that it does not support thinking about groups and cultures as I would like.

That puts me on my own, and I hope to use a combination of timelines and maps to give students in the course the precise encapsulated history they need in order to avoid the usual traps when thinking about folklore — it’s “old timey” or “it’s Cajun.” The project-oriented frame I want to use this semester will, I hope emphasize a more open-ended, discovery-based approach to folk culture.

Now to Google Earth…

First, thank you Google for providing some [great tutorials][gt].

One form of animation that GE offers is a “tour” based on a series of placemarks that you drop onto GE using the “Add Placemark” button on the GE toolbar. The trick is make sure you click on the *View* tab in the placemark dialogue box and set your view using “Snapshot current view.” (You get the dialogue by right-clicking on the placemark in the pane.)

All your tour options are through the Google Earth app itself, with the exception of making movies, which requires GE Pro. I have yet to try out the Pro version, but the good news is that there is a [Google Earth Pro Grant for Educators][gep] program.

[gt]: http://www.google.com/earth/learn/beginner.html#placemarks-and-tours
[gep]: http://sitescontent.google.com/google-earth-for-educators/google-earth-pro-grants-wizard

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