Here goes for another addition of the Spanish language blog. This blog will take a closer look at Google Earth for a fresh perspective on its value for language learning and travel. We will also explore makebeliefscomix, a site that allows for the making of comic strips in various languages.
Google Earth has a multitude of uses, from finding directions, to seeing if the local resolution will allow you to pick out your old Datsun in the driveway of your parents house back home…however Google Earth (and Google Maps) can also be of great use in terms of learning about culture, travel and language.
According to NITLE, a non-profit initiative for advancing learning through the use of digital technologies ,Web-based mapping tools like Google Earth are changing the way we understand our world by promoting spatial thinking and visual literacy.Google Earth allows language learners to develop their skills in geography while exploring important cultural and natural locations.
You must download Google Earth, however Google Maps is available online, and if you have both, you may switch between the two with a click of a button.
The overall resolution in this program is pretty astounding, but if you desire a closer look, you also have the ability to view photos that random people have taken and posted at the site of interest. To do this in Google Earth, select the box called Geographic Web, and check out the photo links that appear. In Google Maps, go to the My Maps tab and select the box to show Photos from Panoramio or Photos from Picasa. And of course there are other buttons for quick access to more points in interest that you can explore.
Here are some places that I think are particularly interesting.
View Larger Map“>Machu picchu
View Larger Map“>Iglesia de la Sagrada Família
Makebeliefcomix is a site that allows you to create fairly simplified comic strips with text from a foreign language. The site is easy to use, and although it doesn’t provide much help with grammar or language use, it does offer a great platform to utilize your creativity and put your language skills to some light use. I made a short comic from my favorite Spanish joke (which happens to be the only one I manage to occasionally say correctly…) feel free to check it out here.
If you would like to read more traditional comics in Spanish, here are a few sites.