This article is about a new way of students to interact with literature. This new literature is called the Traveling Novel and it is full novel that is matched up with Google Earth to increase student engagement as they learn. The example in the article is a novel called The Kite Runner and it incorporates satellite imagery, videos, and photographs with the text. The goal is to immerse the students in the journey of Amir, the main character of the novel, as he travels across the globe from Afghanistan, Pakistan, to California, and returning to Afghanistan. As students read about the emotional journey Amir takes they also experience the physical journey that he travels, also exploring the political and cultural conflicts of the story.
Using Google Earth students start off at place markers on the map and then students begin their journey through the text. The feature are very interactive and requires the students to quote from the book and add their own comments reflecting on the situations as they make their way across the world. They use Google Earth to locate actual location and land marks, then create place markers in their own imagination.
Q: How beneficial is this type of literature activity to students?
A: This is a great activity that promotes growth in reading, writing, critical thinking and creativity. This type of activity is for ally kinds of learners too because of the vast interactivity involved in the Novel. Students are also being tutored in Internet browsing, and that is a really valuable skill. I myself have never used Google Earth, but I will give it a try now.
Q: How does this type of interactivity with Google Earth help the students culturally?
A: This tool is invaluable at teaching students about other cultures and geography. Many students are unfortunately unaware of the locations of country's in the rest of the world, and they are becoming increasing isolated culturally in today's society and media. This project is great at teaching students about other cultures and what the rest of the world looks like. Students really need to be aware that their is a whole world out there that is culturally different and have different values than their own. This project gets students personally involved with the life of people that are so vastly different than theirs. This type of activity can be done with nearly any age group using the appropriate story's.