I'm the aunt of eight nieces and nephews who have done distance learning in the last few weeks. I also have a sister who works in special education and now spends half of her time directly with parents, developing strategies to change courses and providing seven technical tools to support academic progress.
It has not been easy to adjust, but my family is one of many that use various tools to contact their classes and keep themselves busy.
With millions of students out of school due to COVID-19, teachers are facing the challenge of distance education on an unprecedented scale, and parents are losing extra time supporting their children with productive learning activities. Adults are also struggling to learn new things and explore the world around them from the comfort of their homes.
While there are many resources for distance education for both children and adults, such as the new Google Teach from Home resource center and the YouTube Learn@Home channel, sometimes all it takes is a quick lesson with little training. And one place you're sure to find is Google Earth.
Here are four easy ways to use Google Earth to learn or even just explore new places and adventures from the comfort of your own home.
Walk around the world with the "I feel lucky" button.
I'm Feeling Lucky in Google Earth recreates the feeling of a globe spinning and sinking your finger somewhere unexpected. With a single click of the dice button, you can learn about the world and take a trip to an unexpected place.
Discover hidden gems all over the world with "I'm Feeling Lucky", which takes you to an unexpected place at the touch of a button.
Measuring the world
If you've ever wondered how far it is to your home from Machu Picchu, or how many miles of sea between Easter Island and Hawaii, you're in luck. With Google Earth's measurement tool, you can easily determine the distance between places, by road and by land. Test yourself by changing the unit of measurement, perhaps to a softer one, and find out how long it will take you to walk, boogie, swim, paddle or fly to your favorite spot.
Use lines and shapes to check distances and estimate the size of different objects on Earth.
Explore Google Earth Voyager games and images.
How well do you know the national parks of the world? What about the sound the penguin makes? With a few clicks you can test your knowledge of national parks, animal sounds or space exploration. You can even travel the world with Carmen Sandyogo.
Join Carmen Sandiego and learn about new places, cultures and customs.
Students can also try bingo on Earth or discover the alphabet using satellite images. Also, think about using Street View to digitally turn the game I Spy with My Little Eye and search for objects in the online version of the streets and neighborhoods of students, or take the classic game of artistic turn inside a museum.
Visit the websites of Google's education partners
Many authors of our Voyager stories have free online resources and events using Google Earth. Students can hone their geo-literacy skills and be inspired by National Geographic. By clicking on "Share with Google Class," PBS Learning Media will provide a collection of World Explorers videos and lesson plans.
Media4Math has developed a collection of resources that provide mathematical principles for the real world, such as lock geometry and circular structures.
Learn how triangles fit into famous buildings.
Learn about the shapes, moving toward healthy living with the Global Unity Project curriculum, which explores the linguistic diversity and vitality of indigenous languages spoken around the world. The curriculum is an addition to Google Earth's audio collection, Celebrating Indigenous Languages.
More Google Earth resources and classroom lessons can be found at Google Earth Education, as well as at TES, a resource center with a number of essential elements for home education. Teachers who want to communicate with other teachers and share ideas about how to use Google Earth and mapping tools in the classroom can check out the new Google Earth forum in the education community, and continue to follow Google Earth on Twitter, Facebook and Netifriends.