Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I am in my twelfth year of teaching high school physics, earth science and marine science.  It didn't take me long to figure out that most teenagers don't like to read big old books about the sea.  About six years ago I decided to develop an elective marine science class and include maritime literature.  I started to use a combination of the physical book and Google Earth treasure hunt activities to keep students engaged.  I found that most students enjoyed the activities and retained details of the books.

About one year ago I had this idea to take classic books and chunk them into points of interest and linked activities.  I decided to include the rich Google Earth layers as side stops in the chapter.  I even threw in flight simulator activities for the students to observe topography.  The result is this project, and a feeling that this is a productive way to bring back great books that have been collecting dust.  Each book (excluding The Log from the Sea of Cortez) is a free download and is linked in the pages of the blog.  The Chapter I tours for each book are available and I hope to produce a chapter per month, with linked activities, for five books.  I have also included a tour of selected passages of The Log from the Sea of Cortez.

Below are the posts of the development of Sailthebook.  My friend Boele Kuipers has been assisting me on the technological side.  Boele lives in Norway and works with bathymetry.

I have included a summary of how to access and hopefully enjoy the tours in case you didn't read the manual.  Please sample each book at your leisure and let me know what you think.


Ira Bickoff

  • Download Google Earth.
  • Click on one of six book page tabs.  
  • Click on the yellow highlighted chapter tour and open file in Google Earth.
  • Activate the following layers in Google Earth: Places, Photos, 3D Buildings, Ocean and Gallery.
  • Click on Chapter folder and book will pop up.
  • Next click on play tour button to begin.
Note:  You can control the time between features and how long the tour waits at a feature by going to: tools>options>tours at top of screen.

When the tour arrives at a Point of Interest, click pause and read the passage.  At the bottom of the passage is an activity link related to the text.  The green questions are specific Google Earth questions related to the location.