Month: October 2016

My Maps

One of my favorite Google tools that is My Maps.  This tool is so underused and it has so much potential!

First things first. How do you access My Maps? Visit mymaps.google.com OR you can get to it from Google Drive by clicking on New > More > Google My Maps

My Maps is a different from Google Maps that many of us use on a regular basis for GPS and navigation.  My Maps allows you to create custom maps to share and publish online.  These maps can serve many different purposes.  I personally use My Maps when I travel to pin landmarks, restaurants, hotels, and other places I’d like to visit.  This helps me organize my routes and look at different landmarks and their proximity to each other so that I’m covering my ground efficiently.  I can also add links to each of these locations that are associated with those locations, such as a hotel reservation.  I can also create several layers in one map and color code them.  This helps me plan out routes for each day of my trip and more.  I can view all my layers at once or specifically only look at my layer that has everything I need for that specific day on it.  My Maps saves your maps in Google Drive and also syncs up with Google Maps under the label Your Places.

Educationally, I like to use this tool for several different purposes.  A way I recently used this tool was for a clue for a Breakout EDU game I made on regions of the United States.  Google maps has a measuring tool that allows you to measure distance between two cities.  This is particularly useful when teaching students about scales on maps.  My Maps has features that allow you to draw lines and shapes.  You could draw a shape around Michigan, for instance, and pull that shape down to Hawaii to really see the actual size of Michigan in relation to other states.  Another good example of the shape tool is making a shape around Greenland and pulling it down to the equator to see the actual size of Greenland in relation to other countries.

I can see this tool being used to create blended or flipped lessons surrounding a certain topic because with each pin you add to a map, you can also add an image and write a little blurb that could include a link.  That little blurb could be information about that pin, instructions for a task surrounding that place, etc.  Some of my students used this tool to plan their Dream Vacations for a PBL project I did with them last year.  Each pin shows latitude and longitude.  These pins can be customized by color and icon, too.  With all this flexibility in My Maps, can you imagine what kinds of maps students would make?  Have I convinced you to try out this tool yet?

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Common Sense Education

Common Sense Education (formerly known as Graphite), is a website that evaluates different edtech tools you can use in your class.  You can filter through by platform, subject, grade level, price, etc.  For instance, if you were unsure about an app you found in the Chrome Web Store, you could check out what other teachers have said on Common Sense Education.  Check out the Top Picks to see Top Tech for Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, messaging, videos, student collaboration and more!

1-Click Timer Chrome Extension

1-Click Timer is a great extension to get for google chrome because it allows you to bring up a timer on the spot that hovers over any screen you already have open.  One example of a way to use it is to project your computer screen on the board so that students can see how much time has passed and how much time is left for a certain task or activity.  In Tiffaney Emert’s class, she uses this tool to help with transitions.  This is a simple tool that can help with classroom management.  Check it out!

Google Arts & Culture

The Google Cultural Institute has curated several collections from around the world that you can dive into with your students.  You can experience these digital collections through Google Cardboard and they are also accessible on any device.  With Google Arts & Culture, students can learn about historical figures, events, places, art movements, mediums, artists, and various projects.

This tool also lets your explore nearby places.  Can’t make it over to the Henry Ford Museum?  No worries, just take a virtual field trip.  Use the Google Streetview feature to pretend you are actually standing there.

Doing a study on JFK? Explore his online exhibits.

Teaching about World War II? Check out artifacts organized in a timeline.

These are just a few things you can learn from this amazing resource.  What a great way to supplement learning goals in your classroom!