Thursday, July 22, 2010


Chair, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I was fortunate to spend a couple of days at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. About 140 teachers from around the world were gathered there to learn about using Google's Geo Tools in the classroom. It was really, really cool to be able to talk with all of these really cool teachers, some of whom I knew beforehand via Plurk or Twitter, but had not ever met face to face.

There were a few big takeaways from me. First was the work presented by Michael Hathorn and students from Hartford, VT. The team of students did a great job. I am not sure which is more impressive; the work the students did in the project, or the work they did in presenting the project. It was all very impressive, and a good model for my students in the coming school year.

Another take away was the time I was able to spend working in SketchUp, a 3D modeling program that Google provides. This application has been in my classroom for 8 or 9 years now, but I have never been able to give it the time and attention needed to really use it. I am much more prepared now to support my students in using the application.

The last major take away is the ability now to use Google Earth Pro. Google has really beefed up this application and it is now a reasonable GIS tool. Much more so than in the past. Additionally, Google in now offering up to 30 seats of this software for free! That really makes it usable in the classroom. I think my students will be able to get a much better handle on the whole GIS world now.

Thanks Google!

Oh, you probably want to know about the chair. The folks at Google were really clear that we were not supposed to be taking pictures at the campus. You never know what trade secret might be lurking in the background they explained. I was good with my camera (for a change) and did not even sneak any pictures. Well except for the one on this blog and this one. The chair was in the parking lot, and I was pretty sure there were no secrets in it.


  1. Thanks for the post Mark. While I was not able to attend and I am sure you are aware of my Geo Apps reputation, I am thankful that you and the others were posting on twitter regularly. This allowed me to participate to some degree from a distance and share some of my experiences and such with the Geo Apps as well. Be sure to let me know if you need any additional help or curricular ideas for Sketchup, Maps, or Earth. I am going to get my Earth Pro license again before the start of the school year.

  2. It was great to finally meet you in person, Mark. You're so much taller than your Twitter avatar. Thanks for this overview recap. I need to blog about the experience too.