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Elementary kids and Google geo tools (that work for everybody)

I spent part of this morning spending time with Donnie Piercey. Donnie teaches grade school kids in Kentucky and is a Google genius. And he’s a social studies guy. And he uses Google mapping tools.

So when I ran across his session here at #metc16 titled Google Geo Tools for the Elementary Classroom, it was a sign. A great session with some great ideas. Get all of his goodies at this sweet Google Doc.

A few highlights:

  • Use Google Maps StreetView and Photo Spheres to create writing prompts for kids. Have a kid spin the world in Google Maps, stick a finger on a spot, and then ask kids to spend 15 minutes creating plot, setting, characters for a story that happens in that place.
  • Use Google Earth Engine – a third party tool to find very cool time lapse options with 30 years of sat images for almost any place on earth. Kids can discuss change over time. erosion, cities, glaciers, overpopulation, agriculture, water use, just all sorts of stuff.
  • Be sure to play with Google Maps StreetView’s historical imagery. Donnie used it to demonstrate the building of the Freedom Tower at the NYC 9/11 site.
  • Add your own photospheres using the free Google StreetView app.
  • Cough up a little cash for the Ricoh Theta camera. It takes 360 degree photos and videos with a click of a button. Upload those to Google Maps. he and his kids are currently working to connect the Theta to a drone. (They’ve only killed two cameras so far but his kids are convinced that have a solution!)
  • Donnie talked a bit about Google Cardboard. I am certain that Cardboard and Virtual Reality will be a game changer in the social studies world. I think he underplayed this a bit because he has a second session this afternoon specifically on that topic. But seriously . . . you need to get into this.
  • Donnie spent some serious time talking about Google My Maps. Another game changer. What’s not to like about collaborative maps? Here’s a kid sample. I like his suggestion for using it for book reviews like this one.
  • I also love his suggestion for a Chrome extension that opens new tabs with Google StreetViews.

Check out his Google Doc of goodies. Something there for everyone.


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