There are amazing places, people, and natural wonders to explore.
When I was a kid, World Book encyclopedia was my window to the world. Things have improved a bit since then!
If you want to get an audible “wow” out of your students, show them Google Earth! Google Earth was completely redesigned in 2016 and is now fully web-based which means it will work on any device (including Chromebooks). Make sure you check out the “voyages” and the “I’m feeling lucky” button! Check it out!
Tip: How do you use Google earth to teach? Here is an idea for every subject area!
If you are an ELA teacher, this is for you! Lit Trips are interactive tours that map out familiar works of literature. Allowing students to explore a lit trip gives them context for the setting of the story they are reading. My personal favorite is ? Make Way for Ducklings (I have 5 kids, so I’ve read this one a few times!)
Tip: Lit Trips can be loaded into Google Earth and “assigned” via Google Classroom!
If you are excited about Lit Trips, you’ll be interested in Tour Builder! This free tool will let you and your students build your own interactive world tours. Tours can be long or short and contain images, links, video, and text. Here’s an middle school tour of Egypt, and a high school tour of the American Revolution.
Tip: Ask our students to create a virtual trip! Here are some resources to help you design your lesson!
This free Chrome app by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will help students understand our changing planet. Adjust the slider in Earth Viewer to view the physical and atmospheric conditions of our planet. You can see how temperatures and CO2 levels have risen and how the the contents have shifted over time. This is a great tool for environmental science and astronomy courses.
Tip: if you have Chromebooks you can You can install the Chrome App here.
This is a Chrome extension that will change your new-tab page to a stunning view of the earth. I use this extension and enjoy the visual beauty it adds to my browsing experience. You can install it here.
These virtual field trips are designed to be experienced in virtual reality using Google Cardboard or a similar VR viewer however you CAN run expeditions on iPads and Chromebooks using the Expeditions app for iOS or Android. Learn more here.
Tip: This “secret” spreadsheet lists all of the expeditions that are currently available!
If you can’t find the perfect expedition for your classroom, creator your own with Tour Creator! This easy to use interface will allow you to create a landmark tour that can be viewed in VR mode using Google Cardboard or another style of VR headset. Tour Creator gives you access to a HUGE library of 360° images from Google StreetView, or you can upload your own images. You can also add points of interest with more details about the aerial photo or key landmarks.
Note: While these tours are designed to be viewed using a VR headset, they can also be viewed using any device running the Chrome Browser
Check out this sample tour created with Tour Creator: Dome Architecture from around the world:
While the earth is pretty cool, there are other planets to explore! Here are a few tools related to the solar system and beyond:
The list of tools and resources above should be enough to help start exploring, however I have one final resource to share!
My friends Kelly Kermode and Kim Randall wrote a book called Bring the World to your Classroom.
I recently interviewed Kelly and Kim on my podcast. You can listen to our conversation here.
If you are interested in really digging into the tools that I listed above, you should pick up a copy Kim & Kelly’s book on Amazon.
FTC: this post contains affiliate links.
Download a free chapter of my book, The Chromebook Classroom!