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 Maps; We 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; penguins ; Antarctic landscape; Antarctica 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 Project ; Robert 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.