Friday, October 10, 2014

Interactive Travel Assignment Idea

I discovered something awesome the other day, which then resulted in me spending about three hours playing around with it.  But the results are AWESOME and I feel like I must share.

If you didn't know this already, you can create custom Google Maps with your own locations.  This is an AWESOME way for students to go on a virtual tour of a city or even countries that speak a specific language.  You can also personalize it to have the information that you want them to know.

For starters, go to  You will want to click on create a new map.

The FIRST thing you should do is give your map a name so you can come back to it later if necessary.  The cool thing about this is Google usually autosaves your work every few seconds so you shouldn't lose anything.

Next you can create your "stops" either by searching an address or landmark in the search bar, or even just going to the spot and dropping a point.  The point will start out as green.

Then you need to click on it and select "add to map".  At that point, it will add it to your map as well as your list on the left-hand side.

To edit your point, click on it and then click the little pencil to edit it.  If you don't want to the google places link in it, then click "remove" in the gray box. In the edit box, you can change the title of your point, you can add text, and you can even add a photo by clicking on the little photo box.  Another idea is to add the link to the official webpage of said monument for students to look around.

Once your box is complete, make sure to click "Save", otherwise all of the information you put in will go away. Once the box is complete, it will show all of the information you want when someone clicks on the point.

You can do this for each and every location you wish to highlight.  You stick to one city and highlight landmarks, or you could even do capitals and countries that speak a specific language.

Once you finish each location, you can play around with the settings in the side bar to determine how you want your points to be labeled.  Different colors, letters, words... all are possibilities.

With my map, I chose to make a worksheet to accompany the activity to make sure the students actually go through it and get things out of it.  I start out by making them label which monument goes with which letter.  Then they must match the photo of the monument to the name and write down key facts.

To make sure your students get the map, you can click "share" in the upper right hand corner of the map and it gives you share settings.  You can copy the link or even send it directly to them if you have a list of their e-mail addresses.  You can also make a tinyurl for them to access it easily.

I love activities like this because it is much more fun to them than a random powerpoint slideshow or lecture.  It allows them to move at their own pace and even kind of feel like they are visiting the locations you want them to see.  It's much more affordable than the cost to actually go there.

Want a copy of my Paris Interactive Map Activity?  Click this link.

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