Google launched a new browser-based Google Earth this past April, adding educational tools to make it easier for teachers to show the world off to students without having to leave the classroom. The company also collaborated with the BBC to create a digital storytelling platform called Voyager that helps curate the discovery of various places of interest around the globe. Google is taking things even farther today at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, announcing a bevy of new tools and virtual experiences to empower students.
The concept here is to help students become critical thinkers and responsible digital citizens as they explore the world around them. Google announced 10 new stories for its Voyager platform in collaboration with National Geographic Society and PBS Education. These new experiences come with additional classroom activities to let teachers help guide their students, and school IT administrators can add Google Earth as a service within their own Google for Education domains.
The team also promises a new self-guided mode, coming "soon," for the more than 600 currently available virtual field trips via the Expeditions app. A new digital citizenship and safety program called "Be Internet Awesome" is also available to kids. It includes resources for students, educators and families to help kids make smart decisions online. Schools can also purchase a collection of STEM tools for Chromebooks, including a Dremel 3D printer and the littleBits Code Kit, which can be used to help kids become inventors.
Finally, Google is sharing some data around the impact it’s having in schools that use Chromebooks and G Suite with seven new "Impact Portraits" from schools around the US. "In the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, for example," Google says in the blog post, "Indiana’s measure of third-grade reading skills has grown by 10% since adopting Chromebooks."