Technology in Learning Spaces

A 2009 OxTALENT award for innovative use of technology in learning spaces was awarded to Dr M. Antoni J. Ucerler of the Oriental Institute in East Asian Studies. Antoni uses Google Earth with an electronic whiteboard to teach global history. His lectures are focused on the theme of European expansion in Southeast and East Asia (1498-1650). The challenges in this teaching are the vast number of geographical places unfamiliar to students as well as their difficulty in grasping accurately the relationship of historical events to the geographical terrain. Why a battle was won or lost, why a ship sank, or why a port was considered safe or unsafe often depended on a number of key geographical features of the location. These challenges prompted him to use the flyover and overlay tools in Google Earth to illustrate: (1) the historical routes of navigation from Europe to East Asia; (2) the visual context of geographical locations and how the terrain aided or hindered travel to and from them.
Making use of a smart board in the classroom with Google Earth provided an interactive visual experience, which combined both the satellite imagery and historical maps and images of relevant artifacts.

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