Cool Mapping Tools,

Cool Mapping Tools,

Okay, so I’m already behind and we’re only on Thing 1 in the Cool Tools for Schools class I’m taking.  In my defense, one of the reasons I fell so far behind with many aspects of my life was my attendance at the AASL National Conference.  While I was there, I had this assignment in mind and even attended a session called “Bookmapping.” The presenter showed several things he’s done with google maps, but he never once discussed HOW he did them. I left the session disappointed. I had seen things that I’d like to do, but with no tools to implement those ideas.

Anyway, the timing for learning about mapping tools could not be better. Once again I am collaborating with my art teacher and our second grade students are participating in a holiday card exchange with schools across North America. I have all of the school addresses on slips of paper and have th kids draw from a hat to determine where their card will go. Then the kids put a sticker on a large paper map that will hang in the hall and be surrounded by the cards as they come in.

Because of the Cool Tools project, I was inspired to use Google maps to create a map showing the locations of our partner schools that I hope to embed in my website so parents and community members can see the reach of this effort. I attempted to do this last year using Google Earth, but failed. The new interface of Google maps is definitely easier for me to use and also seems to load much faster.

My favorite feature is the street view that pops up under the search box when you click on the map after typing in the address.  In many cases the image that popped up was the front of our partner school.  The ease of the new interface has me considering having the kids look up the addresses of their partner school so they can see just where their greeting cards are going and coming from. Last year I looked up assorted schools and showed them on the SMART Board, but I think the kids would enjoy doing it themselves so much more.

Of course, the maps/photography aren’t perfect and sometimes the school isn’t in the initial image, but, you can virtually “DRIVE” down the street and LOOK FOR IT! I think I will have to tear the kids away from the computers once they figure out how THAT works.

My only difficulty right now is embedding the map into my website. I also wanted to embed it here, but I can’t seem to figure out how. I’m officially up an hour past my bedtime, so I’m hoping that I’m just tired and it will become obvious to me tomorrow.

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