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Friday, June 01, 2012

World Wonders: A new flipped classroom tool for teachers



Google street view has a new, wonderful view on the world: 132 World Wonders to be exact. The flipped classroom model is one that no company like Google can afford to ignore and this website is a powerful new way to do that. This post is broken into three parts: how does it work, how do I integrate it into the classroom, and where does this resource need to go from here.








How does it work?


When you go to the World Wonders homepage at http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/worldwonders/
you'll see a globe at the bottom and the site will rotate between the various locations and show you a "teaser" photo at the top about that location. Starting is as simple as clicking "explore this site now. Note that  Africa does not yet have any sites in the database and Israel is included with Japan under "Asia" in the Find by location search.



One of the first questions I asked was "Does it work on the ipad" so the rest of the screenshots are taken from my iPad exploration of the Palace of Versailles. Everything worked beautifully with the exception of the 3D model which uses the Google earth plug in that will not work on the iPad.



Each site has an overview of the site describing its importance.





Information gives you information about the site and the designation of this site as a monument.





Videos show you some featured videos and also you can view user videos that have been tagged appropriately.





Eye popping photos from Getty Images and links to user photos are shown.





There is a link to Google earth in many of the areas so you can explore the 3D model. This DOES NOT work on the iPad. To explore in 3D you'll need a personal computer of some time with Google Earth installed. If you're using on your interactive whiteboard, you'll need to use your computer.



How do I integrate this into my classroom?



You'll want to download the teacher guides for primary [PDF] and secondary school [PDF] and view some of the suggested history topic packs (these are zip files). I've included below a link to the zip file and then a link to view the site on the World Wonders Project website so you can see the resources. This is a great tool for interactive whiteboards or to give as homework in the flipped classroom environment. It is also very flattening because people can travel virtually and link around user content.
Current history packs available for download are:


You can also search by Theme:



Where do we go from here?



With Common Core standards rapidly coming to the US, it would be very helpful for someone to create a wiki or website aligning Common Core Standards to each of these resources. Even better, if Google would allow tagging of the resources by standard, then one could search on the site from there.





Oddly enough in the Find by location feature in Asia there is only Japan and Israel (?) and Africa is not included yet in any of the sites (perhaps coming soon). The theme section search is cool.




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