Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Google Gifts: Google Maps

During the weekdays of December, we're sharing one tool per day. We're calling it our Google Gifts series.  Some of these come directly from Google, and others are tools that enhance Google Apps or Chrome.  Today, we're sharing the gift of Google Maps.

Description:  What is it?
Cover artI’d like to admit something to you all: My name is Adrian Neibauer and I have a horrible sense of direction.  I’ve been lost so many times, that even my own children don’t trust me to drive them anywhere.  “Dad, are you sure you know where you’re going? Did you check with Mom first?”  Luckily, Google Maps gives me the ability to function in society, so that I am not lost wandering in a forest somewhere.  Google Maps is exactly what it says: a Google mapping service that offers satellite imagery, street maps, 360° panoramic views of streets (Street View), real-time traffic conditions (Google Traffic), and route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycles, and public transportation.

Why would I use it?  What does it do?
Most people use Google Maps for getting them from Point A to Point B.  However, Google Maps offers some really great features, such as creating a custom “My Map” with locations of interest.  People can also embed multiple layers onto a custom map, enabling them to see various items.  Although Google Maps is mainly used for navigation, few people understand the powerful potential of using Google Maps in the classroom.

Students : Creativity and Innovation
Teachers : Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity Teachers : Model Digital Age Work and Learning
Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Google Maps is both a teacher and student tool.  Teachers can create custom historical maps. Students can use Google Maps to measure distances, perimeter and area.  Teachers and students will need to make sure they are logged in using their Google/CCSD credentials, such as:

Once created, custom Google maps can be shared like any Google app creation (e.g.: Docs, Slides, Forms, Drawings).  

For example, James Sanders from Classroom in the Future and Breakout EDU recently presented at The Colorado Summit featuring Google for Education.  As part of his fantastic presentation “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse with Google.”  Our particular team went for a yoga theme.  It was great fun creating multiple layers such as (1) Zombie infested area; (2) Yoga studio locations as safe havens; and (3) Yoga supplies to defeat the zombies.  Check out our final map here: A Yogi’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

Where can I learn more?
If you want specific step-by-step directions on how to create a custom map, with multiple layers, visit this Google Maps Tutorial.  

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