Thursday, July 14, 2016

Literature, Travelogues, & Google Maps

Integrating geography concepts into the ELA classroom is easy to do when a story features characters undertaking a physical journey. Students and teachers can create collaborative Google Maps pinned with specific locations to practice digital literacy and research skills.

To enliven our study of Homer's Odyssey, students worked collaboratively to create a map of Odysseus' and Telemachus' journeys.  Using evidence from the text, students pinned a specific location on the map, selected an appropriate and symbolic icon for the pin, typed up a blurb about the location, inserted an image for the location, and attached a link to a source that would extend visitors' understanding of the location.

You can visit the map and click on pins. 


To facilitate the process, students were directed on the daily agenda posted to Edmodo to visit the Chrome Web Store and install the Google URL Shortener, Tab Scissors, and Tab Glue extensions.


The extensions allowed students to split their browser windows, placing them side by side for easier jumping between tabs, and the URL Shortener truncated the long links for inclusion in the pin description. Each pin's description can be color coded and enhanced with images, text, and links to other sources.






In addition to marking locations, students could map the travel routes, customizing the color and width of the line. Additionally, the style of the map can be changed as well.


Odysseus' journey from Ithaca to Troy and then to the Land of the Ciccones,  and the Lotus Eaters. I can quickly see that this class is starting to get off course as they have skipped the Cyclops Island. 

 Throughout this "fun" collaborative class activity, students demonstrated digital literacy skills that included typing, searching, using the trackpad, and jumping between browser windows all the while speaking to each other face to face as they divvied up tasks and reviewed the content.

Brainstorming other ways to incorporate Google Maps in the ELA classroom, students could....

  • Pin where they went during summer or school-year breaks. 
  • Research their heritage and pin locations where their families originated
  • Write a creative travel-themed short-story with pins of scene locations and the text of the scene in each pin's description
  • Compose poetry based on specific pinned locations.


How have you used Google Maps with your students?
What other ways could Google Maps be incorporated into your classroom?
Post a comment with your thoughts!





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