On Saturday morning, we gathered our belongings and headed to the Nome Airport for our flight back to Anchorage. Our load was somewhat lighter, since we'd given each high school a Gigapan camera kit so that they could add their own panoramic images to Google Earth. We'd gathered a few souvenir coffee cups, t-shirts, and postcards along the way, plus a colorful certificate I plan to frame and display proudly in my office: We now belong to the Arctic Circle Club, Point Barrow, Alaska (71° 17" North 156 ° 47" West) and are fully accredited, lifetime members of the club, "having crossed the Arctic Circle in the Great State of Alaska."
Our week in Alaska is now a blur of friendly faces, vast expanses of mustard-colored tundra, golden trees, snow-capped mountain peaks, sharp winds, crowded airports, and high school classrooms buzzing with activity. Three towns, 30 teachers, and about 600 students—we all worked hard. As teachers, the team from Google and University of Alaska Fairbanks probably gained as much or more knowledge than our students. Primary lessons learned include:
I think we've returned to Google with even more enthusiasm for our mission to help teachers bring Google Earth into the classroom. Some of the areas we plan to focus on in the near future are
For now, we're all short on sleep, knee-deep in unread email, and very eager to post our photos in Picasa and Panoramio (check out a few of our favorite shots from Anchorage below). In the days ahead, we'll be checking back with our schools in Barrow, Kotzebue, and Nome. And we're eager to see the content our students post in the form of Gigapan images, Panoramio photos, and My Maps. Thank you, Alaska!