Ideas for Technology Use in the Classroom
A few weeks back in Content Tech we looked at Google Lit Trips as unique way to study literature through geography. In Mrs. Calandra’s English 9R class, we used the Lit Trip as part of their study of The Odyssey by Homer. Reading this book can be a daunting task, and the Lit Trip was a great tool to help students’ understanding. The project went very well, and here is what Mrs. Calandra has to say about it…
“The Google Earth Lit Trip was really awesome! Not only was it cool and interesting for the students, it also genuinely increased their comprehension of the text, as evidenced by the very high final test scores. The Odyssey is a challenging piece of literature, both in terms of its language and its content; using the Lit Trip enabled students to understand Odysseus’s journey much better. Overall, benefits of the project included learning to use the technology effectively, better comprehension of the story, and increased understanding of the time period, culture, and geography of that area. I wouldn’t want to teach The Odyssey again without using the Google Earth Lit Trip!”
Each student was assigned a book (in The Odyssey, each chapter is called a book) and the product each created was a placemark in Google Earth which included:
- A synopsis of the book
- Responses to higher-level questions regarding the book
- A picture selected by the student to represent the book (selected from Creative Commons Flickr images through FlicrStorm)
Specific directions for how students accomplished the above are in a wiki page (a link to that page is later in this post). The best way to see the student work is by downloading the .kmz file which contains all of the placemarks they created. You’ll need Google Earth installed on your computer to view this file. Click on the file below, choose to open it with Google Earth, and enjoy their work.
9r-odyssey (click to download file)
Additionally, this was my first time ever reading The Odyssey. I was enjoying the work the students did so much that I took some time to create a movie interpreting their work. The words and pictures in the video are from the students and the audio and sequencing was selected by me. Check it out…
So how did we manage the project? Students read 1-2 books per day in class and for homework. I created a wiki page with directions (click here to see that wiki page) and then worked with the first 4 students on creating a placemark. Those students then showed the next group how to do the placemark, and so on. So over the course of 2-3 weeks, the group helped each other create their own version of The Odyssey Lit Trip. Mrs. Calandra began each class with a review of the Lit Trip in Google Earth, and then a presentation of placemarks by students. The final product is a very rich experience that really helped the students understand The Odyssey at a whole new level.
I’m looking forward to embarking on more Lit Trips in the future!
A big hat tip to David Jakes for his workshops that helped push me to bring this project together.