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:

View Larger Map

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:

9 Responses to “Mixed Media-Google Streetview”
  1. Alec Couros says:

    Very cool idea. As a former history teacher, it delights me to think about how much is available to teachers today that could help simulate experiences for students, to put learning into context. I hadn’t even thought about this, but it’s a great example.

  2. David Jakes says:

    Thanks, Alec. I think it has tremendous potential, and its really flexible. I’ll be adding Jing screencaptures, Flickr imagery, Evoca podcasts, YouTube video, and primary source content from the U.S. National Archives (Warren Commission Report) to the mix to build out a complete platform of contextual resources.

  3. Alec Couros says:

    Cool, be sure to repost something when you do. I’d love to see when you’ve put something more together.

  4. John Maklary says:

    Hi David, this looks great. I didn’t realize you could embed the StreetView map. That is something I didn’t know. That would be a great thing to embed into GE4.2. I’d love to help out fleshing out some ideas and lessons for this. Happy Weekend!

  5. David –

    I think what you are building is incredible and I am glad that you will be adding much more data to this. It is going to become an invaluable tool — something that probably any of us could have created — but didn’t really know it existed but YOU did! BRAVO!!

    I already have a teacher at my High School that wants to arrange a skype call with you when he gets to this part of his lesson plans. And I think others might be wanting to the same — so I would suggest that you consider even a voice over which can be put on your site and used by anyone and everyone. It has excellent learning possibilities. And will perhaps inspire teachers and students to then do the same and create their own google streetview projects!!

    This is truly amazing — and it will be interesting to watch it grow.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  6. I am pretty sure that I was just looking out at the Mississippi from the bridge in Minneapolis that is no longer there. The collapse is something your students will remember. Kinda creepy too.

  7. David Jakes says:

    Jen: that’s already done! Just not posted yet. Thanks for your comment. :)

  8. David Jakes says:

    Ross: thanks for that, an excellent suggestion. You bring up an interesting point that I haven’t seen before, and that’s geography (or elements of the human landscape) that have changed or been altered since the photos were taken. In effect, just like the assassination, it allows a user to step back in time…..

  9. [...] Google Street-View you can virtually stand in Dealy Plaza and survey the scene where JFK was shot, look up at the 6th story window where Oswald was perched [...]

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