Google released version 5 of their Earth software this week and their engineers have done a great job of improving what was already an excellent resource for teaching and learning.

The most notable new feature is called Touring in which you can record a fly-through tour of stops you’ve placed on the map and save it into a KMZ file for easy sharing with others.

But that’s not all. Touring also allows you to record an audio narration at the same time and save it into the same file.

To show everyone what can be done, Google presents a tour of the Hawaiian Islands with stops at the sites of Jimmy Buffett’s 2009 tour, complete with the man himself performing Margaritaville as the sound track.

Just download the KMZ file (remarkably small at 8mb) and open in Earth 5.

Then take a look at the short tutorial on how to create your own tour with sound, also posted this week.

Better yet, show the demo and tutorial to some students (maybe one of the other demos that don’t involve Jimmy singing about drinking :-) and let their imaginations work.

Very cool stuff!