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UA Geography hosts Google Earth institute

Submitted by Nancy Tarnai
Phone: 907-474-5042


The Alaska Geographic Alliance/Google Earth Summer Institute takes place on the UAF campus June 15-19. The institute brings together K-12 educators from Nome, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Wasilla to learn to navigate Google Earth. The institute includes instruction on creating dynamic Google Earth projects and integrating Google Earth into a range of subjects and grades using existing KML files and lesson plans. The UA Geography Program will create an online storehouse of Google Earth K-12 lesson plans.

The institute will focus on Alaska-specific content, which will be used at future school in-services and teacher education courses throughout the state.

"Google and the UAGP are committed to hosting and growing a comprehensive source of Google Earth files and standards-based lesson plans on the web for Alaska educators," said Katie Kennedy, geography program education and outreach coordinator. "This is an effective tool to keep students engaged and involved. It has the capacity to enliven the classroom and enrich the curriculum."

Instructors are Kennedy, Tina Ornduff, Google senior technical writer and head of Google's Geo Education team, John Bailey, UAGP adjunct instructor and Arctic Region Supercomputing Center researcher. Participants are school district instructional technology professionals and teachers.

"We targeted these educators not only because their prior knowledge will allow us to cover more ground, but also because we hope to reach as many students as possible through this effort and these participants touch countless students in several schools during the course of each school year," Kennedy said.

The institute is funded by the National Geographic Society as part of the UAGP's ongoing Alaska Geographic Alliance K-12 Education Network. This event is a continuation of the UAGP's collaboration with Google's Geo Education team, which began in 2008. The collaboration began with seven Google Geo Education team members working with UAGP faculty and staff to develop Alaska-specific K-12 content and programs. The joint program toured schools in the fall of 2008 in Barrow, Nome and Kotzebue.

CONTACT: Katie Kennedy, UA Geography education and outreach coordinator, at 907-474-6121 or "katie.kennedy@alaska.edu. Nancy Tarnai, UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences public information officer, at 907-474-5042 or fnnjt@uaf.edu.