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Google Maps was one of the first Google applications to make a big impact on how people use the WWW. With an entire road map of the world, and a plethora of information included with your map to your destination, Google Maps has provided a tool for travelers to reach their final destination based on the fastest and easiest route on the US and other country's road systems. Just go to the map's interface page, type in your starting point and your final destination, or I should say destinations, and Google Maps will highlight the exact route on the map plus provide a list of driving directions so that the driving directions show exact roads to follow and mileage and estimated time between turn offs. Google Maps calculates all of this in just a matter of seconds. Google Maps is good for long distant traveling as well as local traveling as well. Google Maps also has the ability to suggest businesses you might be looking for near your destination like restaurants and hotels. Google Maps has the ability to zoom into the exact area you are trying to find, whether it be a park, mall, or someone's house, with the Google Maps scale control, you can zoom in and out to fit the amount of area on the screen you need. If you are looking for a school, golf course, or even a restaurant, type in what you are looking for in the Google Search window for Google Maps, and a list of businesses will appear with little tags that shows their location on the map. Off to the left is the list of businesses with their names, addresses, phone number, and link to their Web site if they have one. With Google Maps, who needs the Yellow Pages anymore? Like all Google applications, the power of its software is in its simplistic approach to making software that helps the user achieve his or her goals. Now, you might be asking how this applies to education, which I will explain at the bottom of the page under Google Maps in the Classroom.
Google Maps Video TutorialsMark's PIP with Google Maps
Google Maps Home
Google Maps Tools Tutorial
Google Maps: Getting Started
Google Maps: Add Personalized Content
Google Maps: New Street View Feature
Add your Business to Google Maps
Celebrate Urban Birds Google Tutorial
Collaborate on your Maps
Add a Google Map to your Blog or Web site
Adding Places to Google Maps
Apply Google Maps in the Classroom
Google Maps is an excellent tool for history teachers, geography teachers, sociology teachers, or any class that teaches about other countries, people, the US, and other subjects that have to do with the Earth. For example, a third grade teacher could use Google Maps to help students learn about the different states and their capitals, the biggest cities in the US, or traveling distances between parts of the country. Fifth grade classes can study the geography and satellite maps to learn about mountain ranges and other unique areas of the country. Many states require students to take a class about their state for high school graduation. Google Maps would be a great tool to use for teaching students about their state. Plus, Google Maps has several maps to choose from: a road map, a terrain map, a satellite image map, and a hybrid map that combines the terrain and satellite maps. One of the maps allows you to click on links that shows pictures of events from the area on the map, and the other shows the little Wikipedia symbol everywhere there is a city or landmark listed in Wikipedia, and then you can link to the symbol to go directly to the Wikipedia article related to that symbol, or location on the map. Students can also create their own maps with Google Maps, adding roads, businesses, houses, and more to the map. That would make a great class project for younger students.
Another great way to create your own personalized maps is to take a geographical area like maybe a vacation you were on, then add picture links to the sites.. With each picture, you can add information about the location. This type of project might be a good one for after Winter, Spring, or Summer vacation. Google Maps contains literally millions of pieces of information about the world, and a creative teacher should have no problem finding excellent ways to apply Google Maps to the classroom in a variety of subject areas. Whether the student is in 1st or 2nd grade, or in college, Google Maps has a wide range of uses for different grade levels, and should be considered by teachers when creating curriculums where students will benefit from learning and using Google Maps.
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© 2008 By Mark C. Frank, Master of Educational Technology Student @ Boise State University