Mapping Mania with Google Maps

Recently I have been working online with teachers who wanted to explore a range of web 2 tools available for them to add to their teaching toolkit. One tool, Google Maps, sparked such an interest that it prompted me on a journey of discovery too. Today I worked out how to get my photos into my maps . Jenn Mears’ <a href=”http://www.jennmearswebdesign.com/2008/02/13/getting-photos-into-your-google-map/”>WebDesign </a>describes how to do it with Picasso but I found the same process is possible with Flickr
Initially, Google Maps was created as a navigational tool for the bewildered traveler but the customizing options built into Google Maps make it an invaluable collaborative tool for the digital classroom. By using an IWB, students can brainstorm their way to a better understanding of Google Maps.

Recently I have been working online with teachers who wanted to explore a range of web 2 tools to add to their teaching toolkit.  One tool, Google Maps, sparked such an interest that it prompted me on a journey of discovery too. Today I worked out how to get my photos into my maps!  Jenn Mears’ WebDesign describes how to do it with Picasso but I found the same process is possible with Flickr (another of our tools explored this term).

Initially, Google Maps was created as a navigational tool for the bewildered traveler but the customizing options built into Google Maps make it an invaluable collaborative tool for the digital classroom. By using an IWB, students can brainstorm their way to a better understanding of Google Maps and the world around them. Andrew Churches encourages educators to consider using these Web 2 tools  to construct their own ‘virtual field trips’.

Teachers and students are finding creative was to engage in this high quality resource by:

· Using the Drag ‘n’ Zoom,

· Rotatating the overhead imagery,

· Inviting collaborators to edit their maps,

· Adding place marks, lines shapes,

· Adding text,

· Embedding photos and videos,

· Sharing maps with other collaborators,

· Using street view to see the location in real view

· Grabbing the peg man to hop to different locations

After an intensive and satisfying Google search I found lots of ideas for  Google Maps in the classroom:

  • English – create a map tour of play, novel or poem, try Google Lit Trips to engage in the greatest literature road trip stories
  • Digital Storytelling – with Google MapsWe Tell Stories – digital fiction from Penguin (especially the 21 Steps);   Silvia Tolisano’s  LANGWITCHES’ Blog  gives two great Digital storytelling tutorials in Part 2 and part 5
  • History – go on virtual excursions to search for locations of events or create a narrated tour of an historical event. Eg 12 California Missions; use Google’s prepared lessons or make an historical log of events
  • Geography –  search for locations, explore physical features and go on virtual field trips try importing GPS data and then add photographs and video from a field trip. Juicy Geography is a great site for ideas and resources.
  • Religion – search for locations such as Bethlehem or narrate the life of one of the scriptural figure studied. Use push pins to mark each focus
  • Science – look at power generation and locate wind farms, oil rigs or plot the distribution of animal species in a specific area using My Maps. Although these are not Google Maps they are certainly very helpful interactive map links: Volcanos of the world;  NZ earth quake map
  • Physics bus routes to learn about speed, velocity and displacement
  • HSIE and Geography– tracing the journey of explorers with added comments; locating monuments around the world; use street view for Half Moon Island in Antarctica; penguinsAntarctic landscapeAntarctica Tours;  Google school lesson ideas ; Primary HSIE ideas or use this ANZAC walk to inspire a Google Map. Another valuable map too good to pass by is this interactive map that changes the size of each country to represent the data chosen for that subject
  • Modern Foreign Languages – search for locations, create tours, give directions and narrate in a foreign language such as in Box of Tricks and Slideshare
  • Citizenship: show where events are taking place, fair trade and global awareness as in the Google UK Schools site
  • Maths – use Google Maps to calculating road distances, petrol consumption and costs, look for shapes in the environment such as pyramids or conduct an alphabet shape scavenger hunt with cheat-sheet of letter shapes; use real world puzzles; calculate distance speed and time in the Three Peaks Challenge
  • General Ideas – Postcard Exchange ProjectRobert Elliot demonstrates how he uses Google My Maps in his classroom; Primary teaching ideas on the Google UK Schools Site

Why not start using Google Maps?  To provide this stimulating level of engagement will encourage students to find their voice by collaborating with each other to problem solve. You only need to create a Google account.

How do you use Google Maps in your classroom?  Please share your ideas with us and post a comment on your experiences.

18 thoughts on “Mapping Mania with Google Maps

  1. Hi Lesleigh,
    Thanks for all those suggestions. I am really looking forward to trying a few out this term. Colleen

  2. This is wonderful Lesleigh. I am thinking of a million ways to use this in our classroom. I can’t wait to investigate all of your links to learn more. Many thanks
    Judy

  3. I recently had my first experience with google maps, although my husband loves it. I must admit my first impression is ‘interesting but limited in its applications’. Having said that, my impression comes from a place of ignorance and I will definitely be relying on my peers for advice on how to use google maps in the primary classroom in a way that is more than a superficial ‘look at my house’ type activity. I did find this site in my travels and even the opening blurb sparks my interest in the possibilities of Google Maps http://www.google.com/educators/geo.html I will continue to explore this tool in the coming months.
    Thanks for all the great ideas Lesleigh

  4. Lesleigh wanted me to paste up my blog post for this part of the module. I couldn’t figure out how to create a link in a reply so if you want see the link just go to my blog.

    http://drewwilson78.edublogs.org/2010/10/09/module-6-google-maps/

    Google Maps

    Google Maps is awesome. I don’t think anyone can argue that. The whole street level view is very cool, if not a little creepy. It was obviously bin day when they came past my place. I use Google Map a lot for mountain biking and planning training routes. Not so much the street level view but finding trails and places to ride in state forest, and directions for getting there. It also helps me work out distances and times so I can prepare food and water for the trips. Also in the past, if I wasn’t familiar with the route, I’d print out directions, laminate them and take them with me in my jersey.

    Here’s an example of a ride I did a fews months back. Port – SWR, via Crescent.

    In the classroom, the kids are amazed by Google Earth and yes, the first thing they try and do is find the school, then run outside to see if they can see each other. Needless to say they are very disappointed. We used Google Maps during our Space unit to show kids what the Earth looks like from above and from outer space. Again they love Google Earth, many play on it when they have free time. They all know how to use the functions and navigate around the world.

    Although, I didn’t think about it at the time it would have been really cool to use during events such as The World Cup, to see where games were played, also for world events. Show the students the area where whatever event is happening. I could have used it with our HSIE unit ‘National Parks’ to find locations of National Park and do a virtual tour. HHHmmm, I think I’ll be adding that next year. This term we do a historical walking tour. I might get the kids to find some of sites we will visit and work out distances. That would be a good Maths lesson for my mathematicians. Okay I better stop. I’m getting too excited.

    Anyways, final comment; The street view is a little scary for me but all-in-all, Google Maps get a massive thumbs up from me and I’ll be trying to use it more in the classroom.

  5. I agree that Google Maps are unreal. I am impressed with the maps for maths although not all the links worked for me. It has great potential. I am really keen now to map our holidays in Fiji and NZ with the great feature of adding my own photos to the maps! How exciting! I will send the link when I’ve created the trip maps.
    Thanks Lesleigh for your continued exposure to wonderful resources.
    Yours
    Sharon Cannon

  6. I have only had limited use of Google maps. I have mainly used them when looking at Real Estate to see the exact location of the house for sale.

    I have used Australia at street level for fun just to see what you could actually see when you looked for friends’ houses.

    I plan to create a map for an upcoming holiday to the south coast of NSW.

    Megan Eyre

  7. I thought this looked interesting but not sure how I could apply this to my subject

    Beth McMillan

  8. I have used Google maps in the past mainly to get directions to new locations or to check out newly purchased homes of family members in far away places. Now I am also looking forward to directing my students on a exploratory trip through the world of the text. Thanks for opening up new ideas to engage students …

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  10. Hi Lesleigh, just a PDHPE or sport point of view, as I noticed it was missing above: why not use Google Maps to plan running or cycling routes, find sporting fields or check terrain?
    Cheers,
    Trav

  11. Wow Lesleigh, I have moved from a place of ignorance to a place where my head is spinning with the possibilities. Across the curriculum I can “see” with my mind’s eye the exciting possibilities of this tool. With the Olympics coming up, looking at the very first historical start of the Olympics. Teaching Kindergarten, being able to integrate this tool into my teaching is very exciting. Showing places, wonders of the world, snippets of other cultures. I most certainly will be exploring and working with this tool to a much greater extent through my teaching. Thanks Web 2.0…. Lesleigh!

  12. Very comprehensive Lesleigh, thank you! So many areas covered and with our constant wet weather at present, very handy.This was even able to settle nerves by going over cross country course before the actual event. a great tool!

  13. Thankyou for examples of uses. So many places, so little time … but now I can get a glimpse on google maps 🙂

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