Monday, November 16, 2015

Google My Maps


Why Google My Maps?

Within Google Drive, students and teachers can create and save customized maps. It is a great resource for mathematics and measuring distances, adding details to a report on a specific location, or studying locations on various time periods. (By no means are individuals limited to these three ideas.)

My Maps Features

In this post, I created a video to demonstrate how to add various features to your customized maps. We'll
first start with the features available.

Search 

The first basic function is search a location. Google is notorious for search in all of their resources. Quickly search regions on the globe and it will more than likely pop up with a variety of options. Select the one you want; the map will zoom in on that region.

Points

You'll also have the option to save specific points directly on your map. You can customize these points by adding color and selecting a shape/symbol to coincide with your specific location. Once you create your point, the creator can also add various details and facts in the text-box available below the title. The creator can also add images or videos to their map. (Videos are limited to Youtube.)

Routes

Users can create routes throughout a map. In the video, I demonstrate how to create a straight line route. Walking, biking, or driving routes are also possible and will follow a specific road route. The traveling routes may not be as applicable in a school setting as those are there more for the purpose of modern day traveling. Just as a tip while creating a route, remember to click once to initiate the route and connect points. Double-click to end a route.

Layers

You can create layers on your map in order to better organize your points and routes you create. These layers allow you to turn the points and routes on and off that you want to see on your maps at any given time. Layers would be a great way to organize points of interest throughout various time periods. Each layer could represent a specific date, year, or range of years. Then when the user wants to see a specific time-frame, those specific eras can be viewed.

Sharing

Google My Maps are shareable just like any Google Doc. However, it seems to lack the live editing features that the rest of the Google Apps for Education suite contains. So keep in mind that you may make changes to a map, and the shared user may not see the results until they reload the map.



Screencasting

My Maps lends itself well to screencasting tools like Screencastify or Nimbus. Students can give an oral report while clicking on their various points in the map key on the left side of the screen. As the user clicks on the points, the map automatically moves to that specific location or route and shows any of the extra information, images or videos the creator added to the point on the map. Then the student has a great video report while they click through the points of interest on their custom map.