This week's tech tips come from a conversation with Middle School Social Studies Teachers. When visiting their CLT we were discussing the study of cultures, geography and mapping activities. As a result we started to explore different ways to have students demonstrate their knowledge than what the teachers had been using previously.
My intention is to provide a brief overview of tech infused lesson ideas to hopefully spark your interest and lead to more detailed conversations.
Idea 1- Use Thinglink You could provide students a map in Google Draw and have them edit the map to locate key points of interest. They could create a key to indicate what the symbols mean. Next they could take this to Thinglink and add tags that connect to information such as descriptions, videos, or links to a Google Doc they created explaining the specific area of the map or topic. Here is an example of Russia I put together in a few minutes.
Other Uses- Students can create an interactive display of information. If students create posters or brochures, this allows for a much more dynamic experience with the information presented. Students could create a Visual in Google Drawing layering images and text like they normally would and then add links in Thinglink to extend the sharing of information beyond a normal poster.
Since the final product in Thinglink creates a shareable link, you could turn the products into QR codes and create a Gallery Walk for your students. Students could scan the QR codes and see the work of others, learning from each other and students wouldn't be creating products just for you.
Idea 2- Google My Maps I attended a session at an Edcamp where a teacher created an Amazing Race activity using Google My Maps to have the participants get to know each other. There were tasks to be completed and the whole activity was centered around the maps he created. I took this idea and repurposed it to be used for creating maps. I have provided a pretty basic Amazing Race Example You are welcome to check it out and submit any text answer you want. This uses My Maps and Google Forms to create challenges for students to complete. Matt Miller shares ideas about how to use My Maps- 20 ideas and a tutorial video.
Alternative uses - The map serves as a backdrop for delivery of information. You could create maps where the tags were locations in a story or book students were reading. Each tag provides information or asks students content questions. Science could choose locations where important scientific innovations took place.
The tasks that students are expected to complete could be anything that connects to your content. You could create a formative assessment or a student project used as a summative assessment.
This site allows you to use Google Maps to label a map like Google My Maps, but this one gives you some some additional tools. You can use the drawing tool to measure distances from one place to another. A teacher used it to measure their school building when studying perimeter and area. You can add a variety of labels to the map to help students demonstrate concepts - these include weather symbols to identify where weather patterns like tornados are likely to take place. This tool is the one I am least familiar with, but thought it was worth a mention.