I love Google Earth and Google Maps! I am convinced that all teachers should be using these free tools as part of their instructional tool kit. And the nice thing is that there are so many resources and materials available to help.

One of the places I try to visit once a week or so is Google Maps Mania. GMM has been around for quite a while and does a great job of finding and highlighting both Google Earth and Google Maps goodies. One of their specialities is finding useful mashups that use the Google software in innovative ways.

A couple of mashups that social studies teachers might find interesting are Barack Obama’s Journey to the White House and John McCain’s Journey to the White House. Both were created by Virender Ajmani over at Mibazaar and provide a great example of the kinds of things teachers can be doing with GE and Google Maps.

Both are simple tours that “fly” the user through a brief overview of the lives of both candidates using the Google Maps interface. I’m pretty sure that most kids grades three and up could create similar types of tours for a whole range of people and groups.

Have fun!