This past week in class we explored the Google Chrome internet browser. While generally it is just another browser, in the limited time I have worked with Google Chrome, it has been pretty stable on my main home computer. Of course my computer of choice is an Apple Imac, so perhaps that helps add to my sense of stability.
One of the features that we looked at the most was the map reference. There is both Google Maps, and Google World. Using both is fun, but with the integration of GPS features, and satellite photo coverage, they can be useful not only for simple way finding, or as a teaching aid in school. I think both history and geography instruction would be benefit greatly. When I was a young student, we read and learned about George Washington and his famous home. It would have been really fun and interesting to be able to see Mount Vernon via Google Wave. Or what about the Pyramids, or to climb Mount Everest, in the morning before lunch period?
I am sure some instructors are using the new technology, but many more should also start working with it. History may be history, but learning about it can be fun and interesting.
One interesting point that was made in class is that the map features have been at the base of international controversy over national security. Some countries do not like, or openly oppose the availability of satellite images of their territories. I suppose that is quite understandable. Yet today I came across a news item that The City of Chicago has a larger installed interconnected camera surveillance system than any city in the United States? That includes both private installations and public, including traffic intersections. So if it OK for big brother to watch us, who monitors big brother? And that brings us back to who owns private Internet property rights?
One other related news item that I stumbled on was from Investors.com
On Tuesday, a Washington, D.C., Circuit Court unanimously squashed the current administration's attempts to control the Internet. The court "unanimously made it clear the government has no business interfering with Internet providers' network management".
"Government would love to get its hands on cyberspace. And it wants eventually to tax it, of course...... But cyberspace is also where millions exchange information and viewpoints — some of them hostile to those in power".