by Amy Tjaden News Editor


Tell the kids to put away their books today. Tell them that today you’re exploring the ocean and maybe even Mars. You don’t even have to leave your home to do it.

On February 2nd, Google launched a new version of Google Earth. Since 2005, internet users could access satellite images and digital maps to view areas all around the world. Now, with the new Google Earth 5.0 version, unveiled at the California Academy of Sciences, users can dive into the ocean or head the other direction and explore Mars.

This latest technology allows for the exploration of underwater terrain. Users can also view articles and videos about marine science. There is also an historical imagery feature that allows users to see archived satellite images in order to see how areas have evolved over time.

Google Mars 3D allows users to explore the planet through three-dimensional, satellite images.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this valuable teaching tool. Not only can I tell the kids about the oceans but we can actually go explore them. They can view undersea mountains, trenches and even shipwrecks.  Google Earth 5.0 also utilizes video and information from sources such as National Geographic. There is even a recording feature that allows the user to record their journeys.

The technology is still in beta. But there is huge potential here. I can’t imagine a better way to expose the kids to various areas of the world, short of actually traveling there. This is a great supplement to geography, history and science.

We haven’t checked it out yet. But my oldest is curious as to whether we can locate the Titanic. Has anyone else explored this new version of Google? Is it as exciting as it sounds?

Copyright 2009

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