My Three Favorite Google Tools for Social Studies Teachers and Students

As longtime readers of this blog know, my background is largely in social studies with a smattering of teaching computer science and doing some corporate training. It’s teaching social studies that will always be my first professional love. I’ve also been using Google Workspace tools with students (previously G Suite, previously Google Apps, previously Google Drive, previously just a collection of Google tools) for fifteen+ years. These are my three favorite Google tools for social studies teachers. 

Google Earth
Google Earth is available in two versions. The Pro version is the version that you can install on your desktop. That’s the version that I prefer if given a choice because it includes more features that the web browser version. And while there are work-arounds for the web version, the Google Earth Pro is a lot better for recording narrated tours. You can find my playlist of Google Earth tutorials here.

Want a lesson plan for introducing Google Earth to your students? Check out Around the World With Google Earth

Google Books
This is an often overlooked search tool. Google Books provides students with access to millions of free books and periodicals. Google Books really shines when you start looking for work that was published in the 19th Century and early 20th Century. One of the best features of Google Books is the ability to search within a book for a phrase or keyword. Learn how to use Google Books by watching these tutorial videos.

Google Scholar 

Unlike search results on, Google Scholar search results isn’t a ranking of websites. Instead, Google Scholar search results are lists of scholarly articles related to your query. Google Scholar can also be used to locate United States patent filings as well as state and federal court cases. Here’s an overview of five key features of Google Scholar that students should know how to use.


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