Quick overview: The Google Lit Trips (www.googlelittrips.org) website uses Google Earth mapping technology to explore and expand upon real-world places featured in books and classic literature.
How can it be used in the classroom: Using this website, you can download various “Google Lit Trips” that have been pre-prepared by other teachers. The majority of Google Lit Trips contain a teacher’s guide and Google Earth “placemarks” that allow students to explore the far away places that are described in a book. For example, Jerome Burg, creator of the site and an English teacher from Livermore, California, has prepared a Google Lit Trip with various “placemarks” for locations that the character Amir visits in the book The Kite Runner. To describe how Jerome uses Google Lit Trips with The Kite Runner, I’ve quoted an article featured on the Edutopia website:
“.. By clicking on a placemark, students open a pop-up window embedded with supplementary information. One window shows a photo of a bazaar, accompanied by a passage from the novel describing a musty marketplace. Another explains the cultural history of the Pashtun people and has links to additional information about Shia and Sunni Muslims. Most pop-ups include photos, maps, drawings, or text but also have questions to encourage students to think about the story. Exploring the placemarks involves active engagement that Burg compares with using manipulatives for hands-on learning in math. It puts the kids right in the middle of the story,” Burg explains, “rather than at a desk as the teacher teaches the story at them. Students can also add their own placemarks, highlighting locations or links that add to their understanding.”
Video Tutorial: Here’s a video I prepared that demonstrates what’s possible with Google Lit Trips and an overview of how it works:
ICT Ttip: In order to use the Google Lit Trips site, you need to install Google Earth. For more information on using and installing Google Earth, refer to my blog posting at (www.tinyurl.com/ict-earth) In addition, if you’re technically adventurous, the Google Lit Trips site provides a guide to create your own Google Lit Tips.