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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thing 10- Google Maps

View Walking tour of Burgos, Spain in a larger map

Initial ideas for how to use "My Maps" in the classroom:

In a foreign language classroom (Spanish)

1. My Spanish students have done a research project where they are required to put together a travel plan for a particular Spanish-speaking country, (as previously mentioned in Thing 9). For the project they have to create a brochure in Publisher and also ...hate to admit it...a Power Point!- yikes! How cool would it be to have them create their travel plan through Google maps instead! They could include pictures and links to websites (which would undoubtedly provide them with actual hotels, restaurants, etc. that they could use without having to Google them individually). They could create 1-2 specific excursions through Google maps, or they could create their entire vacation package this way.

2. I often have my students do webquests. I could create my own Google map of a specific geographical location, say Bogota, Colombia, and have my students navigate my map to find out information. It would literally give them a "map" to follow : ) This could be even more interesting if I included links of particular holiday celebrations and fiesta days.

In an English classroom
1. Students could create a walking tour map of places that a specific author may have walked by everyday during his/her lifetime in that city. This would work well for authors who are directly linked to city/town, or it could work for an author who was inspired by a particular place when writing a particular novel. Ideas include:
William Shakespeare- Stratford upon Avon, England; various cities in Italy
Charles Dickens- London, England
John Steinbeck- various locations across the U.S.
(not that my students will be reading this one, but Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love comes to mind- Italy, India, and Bali)

2. Using the same line of thought as #1, students could create a map of the setting of a novel.

3. You could incorporate maps into a writing assignment about a dream vacation. Rather than just write about it, students could make it come to life online.

My maps would be a fun way to document your travels while they're fresh in your mind. I could see how it would be very useful for planning upcoming travels. I'll be planning my honeymoon for next summer; I almost used a My Maps for that but decided to start one that I could use in the classroom instead : ) I've embedded it into my wikispace (which I'm still working on...).


  1. You have some excellent ideas! I hope you'll be able to implement at least a few of them this coming school year. I know a lot depends on your access to the lab, and your school internet filter.

    I also hope you'll share these ideas with your colleagues to get them excited about using Web 2.0

  2. Thanks! I really do get excited thinking of the possibilities. I love when students are transported to other worlds (either just another town/country or a literary world). A lot does depend on the lab. Last year, we could only use the media center computers 2 days a week or we had access to the "flex lab." (You could imagine the English teacher research wars! : ) They were civil as far as I know... This year we're down to one media specialist. I'll be at the jr. high this year, too, so maybe I'll have more computer access there. I could ask the tech help about special permission to access some of those sites. Yes, I will be sharing a lot with colleagues! My dept. heads are into technology and would love to hear it.