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ERIC Number: EJ1119787
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
A Google Earth Grand Tour of the Terrestrial Planets
De Paor, Declan; Coba, Filis; Burgin, Stephen
Journal of Geoscience Education, v64 n4 p292-302 Nov 2016
Google Earth is a powerful instructional resource for geoscience education. We have extended the virtual globe to include all terrestrial planets. Downloadable Keyhole Markup Language (KML) files (Google Earth's scripting language) associated with this paper include lessons about Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars. We created "grand tours" of these bodies, guiding students to explore atmospheres, magnetospheres, landscapes, and interiors. The tours benefited from a study of 364 students in an introductory astronomy class. We compared learning outcomes for students using Google Earth versus static portable document format (PDF) files. In pre- and immediate posttests, there were small but statistically significant (p-value < 0.05) learning gains from the use of Google Earth; however, these did not persist in a long-term follow-up. There may have been insufficient differences between viewing text and images in Google Earth placemark balloons versus identical text and images in a PDF document. Consequently, we revised our tours, adding many more three-dimensional models, draped maps, and movies. We also assembled a table of links to virtual globes for other planets and moons, and a virtual solar system model, thus building a comprehensive teaching resource for introductory lunar and planetary science courses.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1323419