Google's World Wonders Project Gives Teachers a Nice Kick-Start
After unveiling hotspot locator Google+ Local yesterday, the search giant appears to be pulling all kinds of tricks from its hat, releasing the World Wonders Project today, a more educational-leaning interface to serve up the wonders of our world, both near and afar.
After spending some time navigating the new site, I believe it will serve as a wonderful all-in-one classroom conversation starter for history and geography teachers everywhere.
I decided to take a peek at the Piazza del Duomo, in Pisa. Although I'd lived in Italy for five years and enjoyed visiting a variety of incredible locales, I never got the opportunity to visit the Tuscan city and its famous leaning tower.
After moving the shadowy Google Earth-like semi-globe at the bottom part of the screen to Italy, I quickly located Pisa by hovering over the prominent, numbered boxes. Of course, there's also a drop-down menu which makes finding all World Wonders locations a snap - I recommend that option. You can also browse by themes of interest, such as archaeological or historic sites, palaces and castles, places of worship, and more.
Once I chose Piazza del Duomo, I was taken to what is essentially a Google Maps Street View, with me plopped right in front of the main entrance of the cathedral, alongside forever-captured tourists with fuzzed-out faces. If you're familiar with Street View, you already know you can click and drag the image on the screen 360 degrees, zoom in, and proceed down alleyways, driveways and streets by hovering over them then clicking. Nuff said.
The right-hand side of the World Wonders site has menus allowing you to find out more about the location, including information provided by UNESCO World Heritage, along with links to pursue additional education. There's a video section with (of course) YouTube selections highlighting various interesting or important aspects of the site, and a photography section with content provided by Getty Images and image sharing sites OurPlace and Panoramio. I suppose Google's Picasa-based image system will make an appearance soon?Continued on the next page