I’m beginning to work with different kinds of media to get comfortable creating immersive visual learning environments for students. The sophomores in the two schools I work in don’t even remember Michael Jordan playing for the Bulls (there is something very wrong with that), and a 32 year-old teacher wasn’t even born when the VietNam War ended. So, why not recreate historical environments for students to give them a context for understanding, using the rich resources and tools available to us.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know my first attempt of this will be with the Kennedy Assassination. I was four years old (OK, do the math to figure out how old I am), and don’t remember anything about it. I do remember when RFK was shot, and I do remember the King Assassination-both vividly. I’ve also been to Dealy Plaza several times and I’m always amazed at how small it is and that it looks like any intersection in America. I’ve stood on the famous grassy knoll, and I’ve been on the 6th Floor of the Texas School Book Depository, and stood next to the sniper’s nest. It’s very difficult to describe…
So, why not use Streetview to show students the actual physical layout.? Why not take them down the assassination route? Why not tell them the story, but also show them? With Streetview we can do this. Here is an embedded map from Streetview, and of Dealy Plaza:
I’ve started you out facing the Book Depository. Move up to see the 6th floor window where Oswald allegedly was (its directly to the right of the three lights of the traffic signal). You can even zoom in, and get a really sinister feeling. Zoom back out, move down the street by clicking on the arrows in the yellow paths (how cool is that?) and locate the grassy knoll to the right. If you are good, you’ll see an X on the street that a local tour guide paints on the street to mark the location of the fatal shot. People stand on this spot when there is no traffic and take a photograph up at the 6th floor.
I’ve done that myself. Let me tell you, it sends absolute chills up your spine.
You can open Streetview by going to Google Maps and clicking on the Streetview icon. A Google login is not required to use Google Streetview so that’s good. Additionally, if you would like to the embed the video as I have, click on the Link to this Page link, and the code will be there. Embed in a blog or a wiki, or yes, even a Google Earth placemark (v4.2 on the PC side, sorry Mac users).
Think of the possibilities for this subject…could you have multiple Streetview maps embedded in a wiki that would enable kids to travel the assassination route? Engaging? Certainly. Would this improve learning history?
In the next several weeks, I’ll build out some lessons which utilize different media tools that enable educators to create mixed media learning environments. I hope that you will join me, and suggest strategies and tools for this project.
Here’s the Google Video that explains more about Streetview: