Using Google Earth and Google Maps for task-based activities and cultural knowledge Jun Da (笪骏) Middle Tennessee State University email@example.com TCLT6, Columbus, Ohio June 13, 2010
1. What is Google Maps/Google Earth • Google Earth and Google Maps are software applications which provide mapping service for location, driving/walking directions, and other geographic information; • ‘a way of organizing the world's information geographically’ (Lars Rasmussen 2009, c.f. Wikipedia). • Google Maps • A web-based application and technology • Default location at http://maps.google.com • Google Earth • A stand-alone desktop application providing similar mapping and other functions • Download from http://earth.google.com
2. Relevant features of Google Maps/Google Earth for CFL learning and instruction 2.1 Maps with panoramic street views • Available for US, U.K., France, Spain, Italy and Japan, etc.; • Also available for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore; • Limited 360o views available in Google Earth for major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, etc. in mainland China. • Different URLs for different regions: • http://maps.google.com • http://ditu.google.cn • http://maps.google.tw • http://maps.google.com.hk • http://maps.google.com.sg
2.2 Features: (Links to) multimedia information • (Links to) a rich variety of information for a particular location such as texts, images, video, and links to other online information such as Wikipedia; • Information related to a particular location can be searched, tagged and shared.
2.2 Features: (Links to) multimedia information (II): Murfreesboro, TN, USA
2.3 Features: Customizable maps • Customized maps can be created with users’ own annotations • Customized maps created via Google Maps can be shared online within Google Maps; • Customized maps created via Google Earth can be shared via a data file. • c.f. http://ditu.google.cn • Navigation through a particular location can be recorded in Google Earth • Audio annotation can also be recorded.
3. Using Google Maps/Google Earth for task-based activities and cultural learning • Maps, panoramic street views, (links to) multimedia information and the capability for customizing and sharing information make Google Earth and Google Maps useful tools for foreign language teaching and learning.
3.1 Using Google Maps/Google Earth as language prompts • Authentic materials: Google’s maps with street views can be used as language prompts to supplement textbook materials in a classroom setting. • Examples: • Chinese Link (Level 1) (Wu, etc. 2006) • Lesson 15: Describing the position and location of a location (e.g., students’ home) • Integrated Chinese (Level 1) • Lesson 11: Transportation. • Search http://ditu.google.cn for train schedule from 上海 to 南京
3.2 Using Google Maps/Google Earth as authentic environment for individual and group activities • Authentic context: Individual and group activities can be created to involve students in task-oriented activities. • Example: • Look up points of interest such as museums, land marks and shopping centers and share the information: 上海博物馆附近的书店
3.3 Using Google Maps/Google Earth for cultural learning • Cultural knowledge is available through (links to) authentic texts, images and videos, and street views. • Example: • Virtual study abroad tour
4. Issues in using Google Maps/Google Earth4.1 Limited street views • While street views are available for many Chinese speaking communities such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, only limited street views for mainland China are made available in Google Earth. • Different URLs for different regions: • http://maps.google.com • http://ditu.google.cn • http://maps.google.tw • http://maps.google.com.hk • http://maps.google.com.sg
4.2 Issues: Different information under different language settings and URLs • Users should be aware that information provided by Google Maps/Google Earth will depend on the language used in viewing/searching. Sometimes, such information is provided by non-native speakers. • Search the same location with different language settings and URLs • http://maps.google.com vs. http://ditu.google.cn • Suggestion: Encourage students to check ‘local’ maps, i.e., visiting the URL for that particular region.
4.3 Issues: Learning curve for sharing user data • It takes some extra effort for users to learn how to provide their own images and videos to accompany a specific geographic location. • Users who want to provide their own multimedia materials such as images and video need to find a ‘home’ for their materials. • Suggestion: Use file sharing websites to share images and videos. • e.g., YouTube, Picasa, etc. • Students may be more resourceful than we the instructors.
4.4 Issues: Complexity in sharing customized maps • There are different ways of sharing customized maps, which may appear confusing and complex to first-time or inexperienced users. • Google Maps: • Store maps on line; • Email the links using built-in function in Google Maps • Google Earth: • Data files can be shared through other means such as email and (file-sharing) website, etc. • Suggestion: Inform students how to share their customized maps.
References • Wikipedia. Google Maps. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Maps (Last checked: 2010-06-08) • Wu, Sue-mei Wu, Yueming Yu, Yanhui Zhang, and Weizhong Tian. 2006. Chinese Link (《中文天地》). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.