If you’ve ever studied a source, especially in history or literature, and then visited the places you’ve read about, that source takes on a whole new meaning. Walking through the streets of Stratford-on-Avon and touring the restored Globe Theater changes the way one approaches Shakespeare. GoogleLitTrips is an internet project, begun by Google Certified Teacher Jerome Burg, attempts to bring students one step closer to traveling to Nazi death camps with Elie Wiesel, sailing the Mediterranean with Aeneas, and becoming a beleaguered king with MacBeth.
GoogleLitTrips pairs technology from Google’s popular mapping program, Google Earth, with routes from characters and real people. You will need the Google Earth program to both view and create LitTrips. Teachers can browse for LitTrips other teachers have created, or post their own.
As students experience a LitTrip, they experience a ‘flying’ feeling from one destination to the next, giving them a perception of the time and space involved in travelling from one point to another in a character’s journey. Teachers can lay pictures and diagrams over existing Google Earth data, allowing students to “view” what a town or area would have looked like during the time of the character’s life.
An important note to mention: these trips can be created to suit your curricular needs. Burg’s own project on Wiesel’s Night is a striking example of how this technology can be used to enhance an English curriculum. A screenshot overview of this project is below: