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?