Sketch-Up Pro (Recently purchased by Google...) is a 3D drawing program that can be utilized with Google Earth to create and place on GE 3D images of buildings. We have recently used it at Lewis Elementary to help with the planning and placement of an outdoor classroom in our outdoor center adjacent to our building. I can see students using this tool to design and vision communities and redesign their neighborhoods. The folks in Maine have worked out a deal with Google to include the software on all the computers used in the 1:1 initiative. This looks like fun.
In my day, we thought calculators were neat:
The Maine Learning Technology Initiative is an innovative program that equips every one of the state's public middle-school students with a laptop computer. This fall, more than 36,000 students will receive brand-new Apple iBooks pre-installed with great software.
We think the whole thing sounds terrific, so we're donating Google Earth and SketchUp Pro to Maine for installation on every public-school computer in the state. They accepted, and now it looks like Maine will be the first state in the US to have Google Earth, SketchUp Pro, and the 3D Warehouse available to every student, teacher, librarian, and administrator who wants it.