Planet in Action is an outstanding way to bring learning to life. This site uses Google Earth to power some of the greatest toys I’ve seen on the internet. When you visit their site you can explore six different areas, from the Swiss Alps to Hollywood to EuroDisney to Mt. St. Helens and more. It’s a low-altitude fly-over that’s more exciting than even Google Earth’s Flight Simulator. It’s Open Source, so it’s free! You can take control and explore on your own. Drive a ship (Queen Mary) throughout the globe, Drive the A-Team van, etc. These journeys are incredibly life like on an interactive whiteboard/projector. Take your whole class on a virtual helicopter ride above famous landmarks that they are learning about in class. First, watch the recorded tour and discuss the different landmarks as you see them. Then ‘hire’ a student helicopter ‘pilot’ who can navigate a trip for the class. As students fly above landmarks, a Google Map will show them exactly where they are in the virtual tour.
The latest simulation that Planet in Action released is based on NASA’s Perpetual Oceans. NASA Ocean Currents in Google Earth shows the Earth’s constantly moving ocean currents. You can view the simulation using the Google Earth browser plug-in.