Good Teaching Google Tips and Tricks

Create Voyages of Digital Discovery with Google Tour Builder

Google Tour Builder
Written by Miguel Guhlin

Learn to create engaging and relevant digital learning experiences for students using Google Tour Builder and see how far their imaginations can take them.

Ready to create your amazing digital journeys, illustrated with pictures, text, and video? Google Tour Builder presents you, as both teacher and learner, the opportunity to create digital voyages of discovery. In this blog entry, we’ll explore a variety of elements, as well as a short how-to. Special thanks to my colleagues (Eric Curts, Ryan Bradford, and Jered Martinez) for sharing their resources online.

About Google Tour Builder (GTB)

When I explain what Google Tour Builder is, I describe it as a way to create a multimedia-rich digital trail of breadcrumbs, a learner-annotated digital map that anyone can access. Eric Curts describes it in this way:

Google Tour Builder allows you and your students to create virtual tours on a map, including locations, images, videos, descriptions, hyperlinks, and more. These tours can be used in any subject area such as retelling the events from a novel, tracing the locations of a historical event, visiting different biomes or landforms around the world, and more. Tours can be viewed by others in Tour Builder, or even imported into Google Earth for a full 3D experience (source).

Tour Builder enables students to create a virtual tour of their research data, adding photos, text, and video as needed. This map-based approach enables students to organize their research according to location and impact, which is appropriate for a topic like African immigration in colonial America. They can combine research, life stories, images, and video to make a compelling case for their research thesis.

GeoSpatial Importance

With Google Tour Builder, students can interact with research data in a different way. They can learn to situate research within a geospatial context. Understanding the geospatial is important. Why? Consider the following points:

The scientific community has hailed geospatial technologies as one of the three leading technologies…that will shape the development of science, technology, and society in the years to come. Geospatial technologies are an amalgamation of several technologies, including but not limited to remote sensing, GIS, GPS, and related fields such as computer mapping, spatial modeling, and data visualization. (Source: Daniel Z. Sui, Editor, JSTOR, 2007)

As a result of the impact of geospatial technologies, we have seen increased use of these technologies (e.g. location-based services). Now you can’t go anywhere without your mobile device. The device knows where you are. Assisting students to understand how to map media to location can break the ice of confusion when it comes to these technologies. What’s more, Tour Builder offers learners a phenomenal way to organize resources.

Examples

There are a variety of wonderful examples for Google Tour Builder. Here are a few from Eric Curts. Be sure to visit his site for more.

Create a tour for a faraway journey or for your local community, identify famous scientific discoveries in your country or around the world, or make a tour of the settings of a story or narrative. The power for globe-trotting creativity can be yours.

Try It on Your Own

For fun, I put together two quick Google Tours. The process was incredibly easy, but required some advance planning. Before you try it, you may want to put together an outline like the one shown below.

  • I. Introduction
  • A. Descriptive paragraph with links
  • B. A photo that captures the overall impression of the Tour
  • II. Location #1
  • A. Descriptive paragraph with web links
  • B. Multiple photos or video links that describe the location
  • C. Custom images for location icon or use one of the existing ones.
  • III. Location #2
  • A. Descriptive paragraph with web links
  • B. Multiple photos or video links that describe the location
  • C. Custom images for location icon or use one of the existing ones.
  • IV. Location #3
  • A. Descriptive paragraph with web links
  • B. Multiple photos or video links that describe the location
  • C. Custom images for location icon or use one of the existing ones.

Repeat as needed for each location.

Give Tour Builder a Try

Ready to give it a try? Check out the illustrated step by step. Or watch Eric Curts’ hour presentation. Creating voyages of digital discovery is only a few fun steps away.

 

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About the author

Miguel Guhlin

Director of Professional Development at TCEA
A former director of technology, Miguel brings a unique perspective to TCEA’s professional development team. He specializes in Microsoft’s educational products and has extensive instructional technology experience. A prolific writer, Miguel blogs at Around the Corner and for TCEA’s TechNotes Blog. Miguel earned both his Master’s degree in Bicultural/Bilingual Studies with an ESL Concentration and his B.A. at University of Texas, San Antonio.

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