Saturday, April 22, 2017

Surf the Turf with New Google Earth

Teachers can use the new web-based Google Earth in the classroom to:

  • Explore the spatial relationship between locations such as timelines of the American Civil War or westward migration. 
  • Emphasize geographic features and transportation systems such as route choices around waterfalls or mountains.
  • Catalog historically important landmarks and compare architectural styles.
  • Measure the impact of climate conditions on habitats or how humanity impacts the environment.
  • Place news events in their geographic locations.
  • Create a virtual field trip or vacation plan, listing places of interest near a specific location.
  • Use the Knowledge Cards to begin a research project.

Schools with older equipment or limited local memory will appreciate that there is nothing to install. Google Earth is not yet available for iPad, those users will still need to install the older app.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jonah: A Modern Parable

We often declare our righteous anger when expectations go unmet, all while refusing to help the needs of those around us. The following tale is loosely based on Jonah 4:5-11 reflecting our attitude towards God's mercy contrasted with our skewed sense of justice selfishness.

When God spared the city of Nineveh, it really upset Jonah. So he went out and sat to the east of the city on a park bench. He sat there, sure that his passive protest would force God to destroy the city. Instead the LORD God sent a coffee vendor who set up his umbrella stand so that it gave shade over Jonah's head, and a free mobile hot spot to save him from using his data minutes. Jonah was extremely excited about ordering a macchiato.

But when dawn came up the next day, God sent a social media notification that there was a food truck festival down the road, so the coffee vendor left with his free WiFi. As the sun rose, a flurry of video chat notifications caused the data signal began to grow faint. Then Jonah truly thought he might die and said, “I can't live like this!” But God said to Jonah, “Are you right to be angry with the Internet?” And Jonah said, “Yes, I deserve to be angry, this slow connection is killing me.”

And the LORD said, “You pity the WiFi, for which you did not work, nor did you provide it, but it appeared one day and disappeared the next. And should not I pity the people of Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 children who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle? Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow. I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Please remember that relationships are more important than data connections.