Last week, I gave a talk to my nephew's geography club at. He's in middle school, and it gives me immense pride that he is so fascinated by geography. When I was a bit younger than him, I was thrown out of a geography contest in my class. Apparently it wasn't fair to the other team to have me be able to identify all the U.S. states by shape. I have high hopes for my nephew that the same thing will happen to him some day.
It was amazing to see this club though. About 25 or 30 students, all eager to see a demo of Google Earth. When I give a talk now, no matter the age group, it's the same result. But these kids instinctively understand the 3d nature of the application, and are curious about subjects like "How do you get the imagery to conform to the terrain when you drape it over?" "Geometry," I said, getting a big smile from the teacher. All of the questions were at least as smart as the questions adults ask me, leading me to think that either these are special kids, or there is hope for America's schools.