The Elusive Carmen Sandiego Comes to Google Earth

magnifying glass

Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego is a fresh take on the classic detective game from the 1990’s. As a newly graduated “gumshoe” from the ACME Detective Agency, you are given your first assignment: track down the elusive Carmen Sandiego who has recently stolen the Crown Jewels of London! You will need to use all of your globe-trotting skills, and an awareness of Google Earth, in order to catch this slippery crook!


How it works

Carmen Sandiego is a built-in component of the Google Earth app and can be accessed from the Voyager option in the main menu for both Chrome and mobile versions.

Google Earth menu with Voyager option highlighted

The interface is pretty basic, with a magnifying glass button to help you search for clues and interview witnesses. Each stage provides multiple locations (between three and four) to investigate. Once you have an idea of where to go to next, you can click on the plane button to book your flight.

Interface buttons: blue magnifying glass, orange plane, green question mark

This is just the first in what will hopefully be a series of Carmen Sandiego adventures for us to solve. Already in the works are two additional capers: “The Tutankhamen’s Mask Caper” and “The Keys to the Kremlin Caper!”


For more information, please check out Google’s The Keyword blog.

Story Time From Space

What could be better than having someone read a story to you? How about having that someone be an astronaut who reads a story to you FROM SPACE?! Enter Story Time From Space.

Story Time From Space logo

Story Time From Space is a project of the Global Space Education Foundation, and contains over a dozen different videos of astronauts aboard the International Space Station reading space-themed children’s books. Each video starts out with a quick introduction to a part of the International Space Station, such as the all important airlock door and the cupola “window observatory” module. Then, as the story begins the videos cut back and forth between the astronaut reader and the book illustrations with a little animation thrown in for fun.

Mousetronaut story/video screenshot

Each video comes with the following information:

  • Written by
  • Read by
  • Run Time

Scrolling down the page will provide you with a written synopsis of the story. There is also room for multiple Activity Guides that are “coming soon!” Finally, almost all of the Story Time videos include links to purchase the books from a variety of vendors.


In addition, the foundation is in the process of putting together a playlist of “Science Time Videos.” These will introduce basic scientific concepts that are connected to some of the science experiments that the astronauts have conducted about the International Space Station, so stay tuned!

The March on Washington – PBS

The March on Washington – PBS Learning Media

PBS Learning Media has put together an impressive resource list to help teachers cover this moment in American history. In this collection educators will find:

  • 33 video clips
  • 7 support documents
  • 3 audio clips
  • 2 media galleries
  • 5 lesson plans covering grades 4-12

The entire collection (as well as individual segments) come with a share button that includes a shortcut to easily post them directly to Google Classroom. Each video and audio segment comes with support materials and a list of the National History Standards that are connected to them.

March on Washington media gallery page with video clips, support materials, and standards.

The Data Center Mural Project: Update

In a previous post I shared the story of how Google is bringing a little magic to their data centers around the world by partnering with local artists to create the The Data Center Mural Project. I talked about the story behind the project, the types of media that can be explored at the Mayes County, OK (in the U.S.) and St. Ghislain, Hainaut (in Belgium) sites, and teased about two additional sites in the works. This week Google has added new photos, videos, and interviews for their Dublin, Ireland and Council Bluffs, Iowa sites.

1

The Dublin, Ireland site was supervised by local artist Fuchsia MacAree, whose mural reminds me of the fun and excitement that comes with the spring and summer seasons, which cannot come soon enough for us here in the state of Maine, U.S.A. My favorite part of this project was learning about how they use the local climate to help cool the massive amounts of equipment inside, thereby saving energy and money on more traditional “mechanical” cooling systems.

The Council Bluffs, Iowa site was headed by local artist Gary Kelley, who used the building to tell the story of how important the area has been and continues to be in the sending and receiving of information. After listening to “A History of Connection” I could see this as a history project that I could really sink my teeth into. You can read the full debrief on The Data Center Mural Project by going to Google’s The Keyword Blog.

INTEGRATION

  • Have students investigate additional art forms in and around the area of these data centers.
  • Compare and contrast one of these data centers to your school/district computer system (besides scale, that is). Have students develop a list of qualifications and responsibilities that one would need in order to work at a Google data center.
  • Present students with the following scenario: If Google built a data center in your hometown, what would your mural proposal look like? How would it represent the community and surrounding art culture?

 

Google Spotlight Stories

Google Spotlight Stories – 360° interactive storytelling

Spotlight Stories uses the power of 360-degree camera technology to take storytelling to a whole new level. Here the user controls where to direct their attention, just as if they were actually there and experiencing the story themselves. Because you don’t necessarily know where in this 360-degree world the next scene in the story is going to take place, these stories have a much larger replay value over fixed-perspective storytelling.

There are several ways that you can experience Spotlight Stories:

1. YouTube on the web: Navigate to the Google Spotlight Stories channel and access a handful of 360-degree stories, story trailers, and behind-the-scenes clips. Look for the directional compass icon in the top-left corner of the YouTube player window to identify that the video supports the 360-degree technology, then use your mouse to drag on the video pane and change your perspective.

Spotlight Stories YouTube_web

360 Google Spotlight Story: HELP


2. YouTube mobile app: In order to fully take advantage of the 360-degree technology experience, use a mobile device and the YouTube app to immerse yourself in these virtual environments. Note that there is the additional option to enable Google Cardboard and add 3D to the storytelling experience. [YouTube for iOS | Android]

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 1.41.35 PM

360 Google Spotlight Story: Pearl


3. Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 2.13.38 PMSpotlight Stories mobile app: Download the free Spotlight Stories app and experience where storytelling and mobile VR meet. Here you will find their complete library of interactive storytelling videos, with more to be released soon.

So, let the storytelling and exploring begin!

 

 

 

 

Oh, did I mention that a new Simpsons-themed Spotlight Story, Planet of the Couches, was just released? “Doh!

 

The Data Center Mural Project

The Data Center Mural Project – where art, Google, and the cloud come together

When we say that something exists “in the cloud” what we are really saying is that the information exists somewhere else. For Google, this is the network of land-based data centers spread throughout the globe which process all of our requests to use Google apps and services. In order to “bring a bit of magic” to these data centers, Google is partnering with local artists to create The Data Center Mural Project.

Each project has its own story containing a variety of multimedia components that explore both the art and the technologies that can be found at these locations. Watch video interviews with the local artist(s) and their inspirations behind their murals. View photos from inside the data centers themselves and meet the people who maintain them and ensure that we always have access to our data. Finally, get up close and personal with the murals themselves as if you were actually there!

Currently there are two locations that you can visit: Mayes County, OK in the United States and St. Ghislain, Hainaut in Belgium, with two more data projects coming soon from Dublin, Ireland and Council Bluffs, Iowa. You can read the full debrief on The Data Center Mural Project by going to the Official Google Blog.

INTEGRATION

  • Have students investigate additional art forms in and around the area of these data centers.
  • Compare and contrast one of these data centers to your school/district computer system (besides scale, that is). Have students develop a list of qualifications and responsibilities that one would need in order to work at a Google data center.
  • Present students with the following scenario: If Google built a data center in your hometown, what would your mural proposal look like? How would it represent the community and surrounding art culture?

GDCM Project

Branches of Power (Gr. 4-12)

Branches of Power – Building humble issues into towering laws

Branches of Power is one of eight interactive modules available from Sunnylands Civics Games. In this module students take on roles in each of the three branches of the United States government: Congressional, Executive, and Judicial. Students float among the three branches as they follow an issue from its beginnings in a public forum to local governments, then to Congress and all the way to the desk of the President.

If this is their first time visiting the site, after reading through the directions have students start by going through the tutorial. This will pre-configure the players and allow them to focus more on the government processes themselves. There are many variables, values, and interest groups that students will need to consider at each step in the legislative process. Once students have a feel for the game, have them move to the main game module where they get to configure their own players within each government branch. Students will need to, for example, select what values their legislator will fight for and what issues will make up their Executive branch’s agenda. Winning occurs when students successfully turn all ten issues into laws, represented by towers on the game board.

This site requires Flash.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 8.35.51 AM

INTEGRATION

  • If you don’t have access to a 1-to-1 environment for students to run their own governments, then project the site onto a whiteboard and divide them up into three groups  (the three branches) and have them make decisions by consensus.
  • After a game session is finished, have students reflect on the choices they made and places where they could have taken a different path.