When I start exploring maps and geography apps and tools, I can get lost for hours. Throw in photos and history and you might not see me for days.
With the development of online maps and mobile geolocation apps, there are endless possibilities for educational uses. Whether it’s exploring far-flung or nearby locations with street view, viewing historic maps overlaid in Google Earth, building customized “literature/history trip” maps or pinning scanned historic photos in HistoryPin, there’s something for everyone. So let’s just dive in and explore a bunch of tools and ideas.
TOOLS & IDEAS
- SOME TIPS:
- Your personalized maps are now in My Maps (help files for My Maps)
- Explore: After you’ve found a location of interest, use the “Show Photos” option on the information card to explore pictures from the area. The 3D button tilts the map and where possible shows a 3D view. Use the yellow “peg man” to get into street view and explore neighborhoods. (This article is a bit out of date, but the info is still very useful!)
- Street View isn’t just for streets anymore – check out these Icebergs and the Aurora Borealis,
- Create: Personalized memory map of locations important to the student. Save locations for a future trip. Share your favorite locations on a group map.
- Try adding your favorite vacation spot to this collaborative map.
- Google Maps Tips
Google Maps and Earth in Education
- Google Maps in Education – Tutorials, ideas, examples, help files.
- 20 ways Google MyMaps can enhance lessons in any class
- 10 Amazing Google Geo Tools for Your Classroom – Some great tips and ideas here.
- 3,000+ Google Street Views for Your Classroom – Museum Street Views in Google Arts & Culture.
- Google Expeditions – Don’t forget about the wonderful Virtual Reality app to explore the world. Some expeditions can be explored from a web browser, no viewer required.
- 20 ways Google MyMaps can enhance lessons in any class
- Contribute: Do you have budding photographers in your school? Have tgen make their own 360 images with the Android or iOS Street View app or with a camera.
Some Google Earth features are integrated into the Google Maps interface, but the standalone desktop application has many more features. Create personalized tours of locations related to a book or research project. Turn those tours into videos that “fly” from location to location right in Google Earth. Explore 3D views of many cities. Use the history timeline feature to explore changing landscapes over time. Explore the many layers of information that can be overlaid on the maps.
- Create a custom Google Earth map
- Create a Narrated Tour
- Google Earth User Guide
- Google Earth in the Classroom
- Teaching with Google Earth
Reading a book or doing a research project with a strong geographic component? You and your students can create tours of the locations mentioned and add photos, notes and more to add further context. This can be done in Google Maps or Google Earth.
- Create your own Lit Trips (and more) for Google Earth
- Lit Trips on Chromebooks with the New Google Earth
- Google Lit Trips site has lots of resources and examples.
- Creating a Google Lit Trip tutorials
- How to Map Spreadsheet Data in Google My Maps – Collect information and/or data in a spreadsheet and import it into a Google Map.
History Pin, WhatWasThere, SepiaTown
HistoryPin, WhatWasThere and SepiaTown are sites that encourage users to add their own photos and stories and pin them to locations on an interactive Google map. They offer views of locations over time and insights into the history of a location. Use street views to compare historic views with current views. Check out History Pin in Schools for ideas and instructional materials. The HistoryPin mobile app helps you find photos and information about your surroundings while on the go.
- Contribute: Students can gather, scan & edit their own family photos and old postcards to post to the site. Or work with local historical society or the public library history collection to select photos to share. Images can include descriptions of the photos and stories related to the location.
- Collaborate: Work with community members to gather history of the area, stories around certain events and so on.
- Tours & Collections: History Pin has options to create collections of photos around a topic or a tour of locations.
- Research: These sites are treasure troves of images and stories. There might be photos of locations in books that students are reading or locations they’re studying in history. Students could find information about the towns and countries where their families are from. Or see what their favorite vacation spot looked like in the past.
More Tools and Ideas
- Old NYC – This grid view of New York City has link to historic photos linked from every street corner. Project was built with photos from the New York Public Library.
- Chronas History – Intriguing mashup of maps, history, wikipedia content and more. Scroll down the page a bit to the “read me” section to figure out how it works. It’s worth it!
- Story Map – Build a map that tells a story.
- A Great Tool for Creating Stories Using Maps – Covers how to use ESRI Story Maps to build map based stories.
- Virtual Field Trips – Nice collection put together by Capital Region BOCES SLS
- Travel the World from Your Classroom: Free iPad Apps for Virtual Field Trips – Great list of ideas from Edutopia
- One Globe Kids – “Watch students from around the world share with you their hometowns, languages, and cultures.” (Review on Edshelf)
- 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World – These maps present data in creative and interesting ways. Use as examples for creating data based map infographics. (some may not be “school safe”)
- Pocket Sights – Use this app to build self-guided walking tours for mobile users. An history walk example from the Wichita KS Library.
- Download 67,000 Historic Maps (in High Resolution) from the Wonderful David Rumsey Map Collection – Amazing collection of historic maps from around the world.
- Smarty Pins with Google – Fun trivia game.
- Infinity of Nations – Great culture quest activity from the Smithsonian focusing on the native cultures of North, Central and South America. Strong mapping component.
- World Geography Games
- GeoGuessr – Fun game that helps you develop map and geography skills. You land in the middle of random streetview somewhere in the world. Move through the streetview looking closely at surroundings to gather clues about where you are.
- Scavenger Hunts – Create a scavenger hunt around your library, school, community. Use QR codes to provide clues and information. Or use geocaching tools to lead students from one clue to the next.
Try something new or dig deeper into a tool you already love.
- Learn more about the Google Maps, create your own map for a classroom lesson, a field trip, vacation.
- Create a Lit Trip with Google Earth
- Explore the fascinating layers of information that can be placed on Google Earth, particularly the Global Awareness layers.
- Upload a photo to HistoryPin or create a tour there
- Try your hand at creating a QR code based scavenger hunt
- Explore some apps for you iOS or Android device
If there are other tools and ideas you’ve wanted to explore, try them. Have fun, explore and most of all, share what works and doesn’t work in your blog post.
YOUR BLOG POST:
- What tools did you use? How did they work? Share your successes, failures & tips.
- How might you use these tools with your students?
- What other teachers could you collaborate with on a map based project?
*TURNING IN YOUR ASSIGNMENT
- Write & publish your blog post.
- Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
- Return to the Google Classroom assignment page, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.
*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.