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Tip of the Week: MapStory. It’s Wikipedia for Maps

Okay. Not sure if I should be impressed or freaked out by the fact that the founder of MapStory was also one of the original officers of In-Q-Tel. In-Q-Tel, as we all know, is the venture capital group working to keep the CIA equipped with the latest in information technology.

I’m gonna go with freakishly impressed.

Because MapStory looks like a very handy tool for teachers looking for ways to incorporate high-level discipline specific thinking skills into their geography and history instruction. And I’m sure there’s not any chance of teachers getting caught up in some sort of illegal international information gathering syndicate through MapStory.

Pretty sure.

Yesterday I shared some thoughts about using maps to to help generate great questions related to the Kansas state social studies standards and the Common Core. Part of what I didn’t talk about was the last part:

The student will use his/her understanding of dynamic relationships between people, places, ideas, and environments to create a personal, community, state, and/or national narrative.

I think most of us can create interesting and engaging lessons that help kids collect and recognize foundational knowledge. It’s the next couple of steps that usually throw us – the evaluating, analyzing, and investigating. And the last step of assessment . . . if it’s not multiple choice, essay, or DBQ, we’re lost.

So what does it look like when kids create a narrative that demonstrates a deep understanding of these sorts of dynamic relationships?

Here’s where I think MapStory can help.

Think Wikipedia for maps. But a Wikipedia for maps that allows users to tell a story over time using a variety of multimedia tools, not just maps. It’s a way to tell a story, to illustrate change over time, to create a narrative that demonstrates dynamic relationships.

MapStory empowers a global community to organize knowledge about the world spatially and temporally. With MapStory, people of all kinds turn into Storytellers who can create, share, and collaborate on MapStories and ultimately improve our understanding of global dynamics, worldwide, over the course of history.

Check out a simple MapStory that documents the percentage change in world population. Or one that highlights poverty trends in the US. And because this is Wikipedia-ish, you can edit other MapStories and others can edit yours. We all get smarter together.

There are some handy How To’s and Guides to help your students get started.

The beauty of MapStory is not just that you and your kids can use it to meet state standards but because it will help make your kids better citizens. And it fits with their own little soapbox speech:

It is time for a new generation of kids to grow up with an understanding of the world around them that is not just based on some inflated text that does little to light up their imaginations. We want kids to not only have access to a rich body of spatial and temporal knowledge that can tell them about the world around them, but access to many disparate narratives that can communicate why various dimensions of our past and present are important.

We want you and your students to be empowered to create your own MapStories and publish them to the world. Think of it as a new way to do a book report! They may be about world history, important recent events, or they may be about the past century in your own hometown. MapStory wants to empower you to succeed in inspiring the next generations of our global society.

Have fun!

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh my god, I can’t wait to use this!! Thanks!!!! 🙂

    April 27, 2013
  2. Reblogged this on Inspired by History and commented:
    This is brilliant and ridiculously helpful for social studies teachers looking for a way to incorporate a different level of map understanding and use in a classroom. I look forward to incorporating this tool into my curriculum! Thanks History Tech for keeping us up on these wonderful tools!

    April 28, 2013
    • glennw #


      Glad it will be useful! Thanks for the re-blogging.


      April 28, 2013

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