The adaptive and integrative nature of Google Earth makes it a natural candidate for use in education. Although it is clear that Google Earth can serve a seemingly limitless variety of functions and the quality of teaching can be enhanced with its use, the long-term developmental implications for students are unknown. Educators around the world were successfully teaching students geography, science, and other subjects before the first virtual globe was ever even created. To change such traditional methods of teaching is risky and we must recognize the extent to which this software can be used. That aside, Google Earth’s ultimate benefit to the educational community must not be overlooked. Both novel and widely applicable, Google Earth should be recognized as a model for the integration of education and technology, across all levels—from the budding student to the experienced investigator.
Maybe Google Earth is the future of education, and thousand-year-old methodologies will be modified to accommodate the technologically dominated minds of the incoming generation of students. So long as we are in the age of technology, the world must keep up with new developments in all aspects of life. Virtual globes in education is just one of these aspects. Developing criteria that could determine the effectiveness of Google Earth lessons should be our next step. Normalizing this unconventional form of teaching would bring clarity to the technology and education debate that remains among schooling officials today. The future generation of students, we predict, will accredit the spatial skills they developed from visual learning to interactive technologies like Google Earth.