On the Google Operating System blog there is a video posted that has an hour long video from one of the people working on Google Earth. I watched about 15 minutes of it immediately and I have it book marked for teachers and students who may want a more indepth explanation of what Google Earth can do. The presentation starts with the Google employee telling us about how people really like Google Earth, but just like the fact that they can look at their house from over head.
So, what can you use Google Earth for in education? Let's rattle off a few ideas that you may want to use in your class. You can also ad graphics, links and even embed video into the 'popups.'
Jerome Berg, another Google Certified Teacher, is creating Google Lit Trips, where students are plotting the path on a map that follows the path of a novel. One of the Lit Trips is based on "The Grapes of Wrath" journey from Oklahoma to California along Route 66. There are other teachers that are collaborating with Jerome and plotting out several other novels on Google Earth.
Here is another article from a teacher in Great Britain using Google Earth in Language Arts classes.
There are already overlays created in Google Earth for battles in the Civil War, World War I and World War II. A 1960's civil rights tour has already been created in Google Earth.
So, what else could you do? Just off the top of my head....
Plot out a rock band's tour and link to the newspaper reviews and maybe even a "YouTube" or "Google Video" embedded into the 'popup.' Students could compile an entire tour journal and write a final tour review.
Plot out the schedule for a sports team, with records and team logos on the placemarkers. Students could calculate batting averages (Baseball), goal scored averages (Hockey), shooting percentages (Basketball) and yards per play (Football) statistics. Students could do this for a game and/or a season. You could also have students calculate travel distances and determine the total number of miles the team traveled in an entire year and if you want to get even more crazy, have the students calculate how many free trips they would get if they were allowed to keep their frequent flier miles.
One of the projects I am starting to work on is the "Global Families Project" where we will be asking students to post a picture of their family on a wiki and answer a few questions about them. The next part of the project will be to have the students place a push pin in a Google Earth file (.kmz) of where their home is located. The pushpin will be linked to their family's picture on the wiki.
There are plenty of ideas you could come up with.... the only limit is your imagination.