Teaching through technology

Milliorn enhances teaching through Google Earth

ttuell@sierrastar.comJuly 30, 2013 

See the ocean through the life of a shark, discover ancient shipwrecks, explore faraway galaxies, and see how people live in other countries — all from the comfort of a Minarets High School classroom. This is what U.S. history, leadership, cheer, and geography teacher Chelsea Milliorn is bringing back to her classroom after a day of immersion at Google Geography Teachers Institute in Mountain View.

"It was fun, it was cool, it was exciting, and I can't wait for school to start to show off a little," Milliorn said. "I'm already busy working on lesson plans."

Anyone can use Google Earth — they just need to know how to use it. All users have to do is create a menu of what they're looking for such dead zones, endangered species — even Jacques Cousteau oceanography. Users can even follow small animals through the forest in real time because of cameras attached to the animals.

"It was amazing," Milliorn said. "They took a lot of time to explain how the layers in Google Earth worked, how to manipulate them, and how to align them with the goals in your class."

An app in Google Earth called Google Gallery allows users to choose a place they'd like to go and then the user can use that technology to compare and contrast climate, elevation, latitude and longitude with other countries.

"In essence, what you're looking at in Google Earth is two countries, two states, two locations where you can learn that you're not so different from kids in Africa experiencing 114 degree weather too," Milliorn said.

Google Earth also illustrates the progression of borders during wartime and battle plans according to terrain.

Milliorn said she plans to make Google Earth the "fabric" of her teaching and mold it with Google Maps to illustrate a variety of subjects, such as people pushing for global citizenship, moving from location to location, and population increases.

"It was soul opening," Milliorn said. "It seems to me that this is the way to become philanthropic. It's hard to care about something if you don't really get a chance to feel it, or know it, or get empathy with it, and with Google Earth, you get a chance to see how people live in Bangladesh, how Inuits eat in Alaska, how the climate is changing. With use of this technology, it shows we aren't that far apart."

About 4,000 people — from as far as Paris, France and Germany — attended the institute.

"Socially it gives you a greater understanding of how technology improves relationships," Milliorn said. "I'm thinking, 'Wow, there are moms, wives, and teachers just like me all over the world that are dealing with the same issues — how to make the classroom fun, infuse technology, bridge the gap and bring people together. This is a way to reach over that chasm of time and knowledge and meet and know and collaborate with teachers all over the world."

To be accepted into the program, Milliorn had to show that she routinely and correctly uses Google Earth and Google Maps in the classroom, that the apps were utilized correctly and frequently by students, and provide testimony as to how her geography classes/curriculum were being directly aligned with Google Earth and Google Maps.

"Chelsea Milliorn has become a leader on our campus in so many ways," said Minarets Principal Michael Niehoff. "She came here two years ago as a new teacher. She learned Google Earth and Google Maps after arriving as part of our curriculum. Now, she is seen as a leader in the field and has taught as far away as Italy to other educators. Chelsea represents the lifelong learner model and we're lucky to have her leading our students and staff."

Details: https:/ sites.google.com/site/cagti2013

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service