Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rivers School on Google Earth

Some of the kids at school asked about Google Sketchup -- so I finally made the time to build a quickie model and export it to Google Earth to see what it's look like.

First, I took a site plan and scanned it into a JPEG file. It's clean enough to see the building footprints. I had to guestimate the scale by drawing a line and scaling the line to a known measurement -- but not too tough:

Next, I found the Rivers School on Google Earth and exported a snapshot of that to Sketchup -- this is just a simple button click in Sketchup. It pulls in both a snapshot and the "terrain" (topography). It's kinda cool the way the shadows line up on the Google Earth image:

I could then match up the scanned site plan to the Google Earth snapshot quite easily -- boy things look so good when they're in Google Earth:

The model is very "blocky"; I guessed on all the vertical dimensions. This is more of a proof of concept. The Sketchup .kmz file for the Rivers Site is here.

Scientists say video games can reshape education

Oh, it's from "scientists", so this must be true! Great discussion points and examples in the report (linked blow) ...

FAS Summit on Educational Games

[ link to the full report, PDF ]

"The Federation of American Scientists -- which typically weighs in on matters of nuclear weaponry and government secrecy -- declared Tuesday that video games can redefine education.

Capping a year of study, the group called for federal research into how the addictive pizazz of video games can be converted into serious learning tools for schools.

The theory is that games teach skills that employers want: analytical thinking, team building, multitasking and problem-solving under duress.

Unlike humans, the games never lose patience. And they are second nature to many kids."

AP article on