Technology puts geography at students’ fingertips

After winning his way into the final round of the National Geographic Geography Bee at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology on April 3, eighth-grade student Mason Mennenga cited Google Earth as one of his key studying sources, reports the Rapid City Journal. "You can search everything on it," said Mennenga. "For example, you can really see what Nepal and the mountains there look like. You can’t see that on a map." Monica Peacock, an eighth grader at Dakota Valley middle school in North Sioux City, also used Google Earth to study for the Bee, which drew more than 80 fourth- through eighth-graders to the school. Before the trip, Peacock downloaded an application onto her iPod that let her access maps and play interactive geography games, which she studied and played between rounds. "When I got into teaching over 40 years ago, we had black-and-white pictures taken from balloons to learn from," said Charles Gritzner, coordinator of the South Dakota Geographic Alliance. "Now, with satellites and the technology today, whether through Google Earth or information off the internet, the students have a wealth of information at their fingertips."

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