Explore the Great Barrier Reef: Google Wonders Project

The Google Wonders Project is an interactive website that allows visitors to discover many of the wonders of the world. Virtual visitors can get off the beaten path and explore wonders from 6 continents up close through Google’s amazing street view technology. Virtual visitors can find factual information, stunning images, 3-D models and YouTube videos right on the page, which makes the World Wonders Project an amazing teaching tool.

The newest addition to the collection takes visitors on an underwater tour of the Great Barrier Reef. Divers used the world’s first tablet-operated underwater camera to capture high-definition panoramic images of the reef to create stunning content.

The underwater expedition is part of a larger scientific study which aims to help bridge the gap between scientific awareness and public knowledge. Google has partnered with The Catlin Seaview Survey for a major  study of the world’s reefs and has made images from from coral reefs in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii available through Google Maps. There will also be a dedicated YouTube channel for project-related videos. It’s probably only a matter of time until Google assembles more packages of teacher-friendly content from the underwater expeditions and makes them available through the Google Wonders project. 
Visit the Great Barrier Reef on the Google Wonders Project

Google Search Education

Searching for information and making sense of it is a process that involves critical thinking. Google has many tools to help students sift through the overwhelming abundance of web content, but those tools are often not utilized by students and teachers. 

Google recently announced the launch of Search Education. With it comes the promise of bringing educators the tools they need to help students become savvy searchers and independent learners. The site for educators includes lesson plans that are tied to A Google a Daya daily puzzle designed to develop complex search skills. The lessons are aligned with NETS and Common Core Standards, connected to content area subjects and differentiated on 3 levels. 
In addition to lesson plans, Google offers live trainings and archived videos of past trainings to provided educators with the background knowledge

Providing students with strategies that makes it easier to find relevant information more efficiently is a skill we need to teach our students. Check out this video to learn more about Google Search Education.

Improve Search Skills – A Google a Day

Searching for information is a process that involves critical thinking.  A Google a Day  is a trivia game that provides students and grownups with a playful way to improve search skills. Every day Google posts a question that is complex enough that a regular Google search won’t yield the solution. Players have to put on their thinking caps to find the answers. Here are some things you should know about a Google a day:

  • Players are encouraged to “cheat” and search for the answer, that’s the point of this game.
  • Tips and tricks for searching are available through a link right on the game page.
  • The answer includes the path used to find it.
  • Players must solve each day’s puzzle by searching the Internet as it existed before A Google a Day was launched. This is known as “Deja Google”.
  • The trivia game can easily be popped into your own blog or website with the embed code provided. Try it for yourself at the bottom of this post.

Beyond the fun of the trivia game, Google has also put together lessons and materials to help teachers teach students how to search, known as the Google Search Education Evangelism Site which is worth taking a look at. The materials on the site are licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike license which means teachers can use and modify them for their teaching as long as they give attribution to Google.com and keep the sharing going by licensing modifications of the work under the same category.