I routinely tour a few courses on Google Earth every weekend. I did golf last week and using the measuring tool was able to track my tee shot on 18. I have a friend who tracks his jogging route, another who figured out how far it was around a slough on his farm and another who calculated the area of his acreage. These are just a few things done with the measuring tool which could be utilized even more within our classrooms.
When our school division looked at creating a standard image for our computers I requested Google Earth be on it. Beside the legitimate issue about bandwidth (which we really haven’t addressed)someone mentioned the they thought of Google Earth as a toy. It is a great deal of fun no doubt. There are constantly new hacks and ideas for using it. But as far as being only a toy, not a chance. Bringing context to stories, world events and history is critical for understanding. If we want students to learn about life in context, Google Earth is the best tool for learning about place….and the length of your tee shots.