Using Google Earth to Create a Virtual Field Trip (Basic Tour)

1. Make a plan or outline of the places your students will visit during the tour.

2. Open Google Earth.

3. In the “Fly To” search box, type in the locations that the students will visit. Click the magnifying glass to begin search. When the location is set, add a place mark by clicking the yellow pushpin button. Type in the name of that location and click the “OK” button. (Note – On the “New Place mark” window, you can click the yellow pushpin and choose a different marker for your location, or you can even turn the marker off). Repeat this process for each location on your trip.

4. For the simplest tours, you can stop now and save your work. To save, click the “File” menu, click “Save”, then “Save Place As”. Type in a file name and click the “Save” button. This will save your place marks in a Google Earth “.KMZ” file. This file can be placed on any computer that has Google Earth installed. When students open the file, the tour stops will be displayed in the “Places” area of Google Earth. Students can visit the sites in any order simply by double-clicking them from the list.


More Advanced Tour (includes automation, making tours easier for younger students)

For a more advance tour, you can add narration to and/or automate your Google Earth tour. Begin by following the steps above, including saving your place marks as a “.KMZ” file.

1. Once you have completed the steps above, you are ready to automate and/or add your own narration to your tour. To begin, click the “Add” button, then click “tour” (or just click the video camera button in the menu bar at the top). This will open a small recording box at the bottom of the screen. The red dot button records your physical movements in Google Earth, while the microphone button records your narration. You can use either one individually, or both of them simultaneously.

2. Click the record button (red dot) to begin recording physical movements and then click the microphone button to begin recording your narration. You will need an external or built-in microphone to record narration.

3. Double-click your first stop in your “Places” section. This will be the places you saved with place marks earlier. When Google Earth flies to that location, record your narration for this part of the tour. All events are recorded in real time, so your recording time at each location will match the time spent at each location during the tour. Your tour can also include many of the “Layers” features. Be sure the layers you want your students to focus on are enabled on the PC(s) where the students will take the tour.

4. Complete your tour by repeating step #3 above for each location you want your students to visit during their tour. After you have recorded the last stop, click the record button to stop the recording. This will open a play box where you can review your tour. Click the “Play” button to review your tour. If you are satisfied with your tour, click the “Save” button. (NOTE – Don’t click the close “X” until you have saved your tour. Otherwise your work will be lost).

5. Save your final “My Places” .KMZ file. This file can be placed on any computer that has Google Earth installed. (Note, be sure to save your entire “My Places” file, not just a place mark or tour. The file should include all place marks and the recorded tour).



Tips
Ø Be sure to turn on any of the “Layers” your students will need during their trip. A few examples of layers you might want to include are:

· “Borders & Labels” to show country/state outlines and country/city names.
· “Panoramio Photos” to provide access to photos of places all across the world.
· “Ocean” layers if your trip includes stops in ocean areas.
· “Street View” if you want students to be able to zoom down to the street level of their destinations.
· “Weather” to see radar, forecasts, etc… of your destinations.
· “Gallery” layers such as earthquake locations, webcams, and volcanoes.

Ø Plan tour destinations and narration before beginning your tour recording. Recorded trips cannot be edited.

Ø Your place marks must be saved in a .KMZ file and opened along with the tour file in order to work.