The most useful human learning tool is the question. Children naturally use it constantly at a certain age to query adults. Later in life students and adults learn by asking questions. The internet is the most recent invention that allows us to ask questions and get answers. For some of us, it has replaced books and libraries. One application on the internet that I find to be especially useful is Google Earth. Whenever I encounter a geographical term in my reading or elsewhere, I like to visit it on Google Earth. I have activated the “Photos” layer so that most inhabited places have dozens, if not hundreds, of pictures uploaded by private citizens. There are fewer pictures in places where the population is very poor or forbidden by their government to use the internet.
Some examples of my recent use. I am currently reading Ashenden by Somerset Maugham which takes place partially in Switzerland, which I have never visited in person. After viewing Lake Geneva and its environs on Google Earth, I feel more connected to the story.
Joseph Conrad began his maritime career in Marseille, France which is the principal setting for The Arrow of Gold. The Rover takes place mostly on a peninsula east of Marseille between Toulon and Hyeres. Several of Conrad’s stories take place among and between the many islands of Indonesia and the Philippines. All the information is more vivid and more easily retained if I am able to associate it with the information I can find using Google Earth
- This massive Google Earth display in Paris includes 48 screens (thenextweb.com)
- Why is google earth blurry up close (wiki.answers.com)
- How do you search a place in Google Earth (wiki.answers.com)
- New features Google Earth Pro 6.1 (techie-buzz.com)
- Paris Sets Up World’s Largest Google Earth Display with 48 Screens (treehugger.com)