Google My Maps & Sites unite!

Google Sites and Google My Maps unite!
Google Sites make it simple to create a website. Yes, Google Sites may be a little limited but that also means it makes it easy to use. One plus is how easily Google Sites integrates with Google Drive. Google My Maps, one of the newer members of the Google Apps and Google Apps for Education (GAFE) family, is no exception.

Below is a short video tutorial showing how to embed a Google My Map from Google Drive into a Google Site.

Applications for education

Google Sites allow you to draw from different types of media and documents as well as interactive elements. Schools are using it for:

  • flipping classrooms by putting content online
  • student portfolios
  • collaboration
  • student projects
  • communication with the wider school community

Google My Maps is another way of developing the richness of Google Sites.

Google My Maps rules!

Recently, I had the privilege of presenting a school project at the AIS NSW STEM Symposium with two Google My Maps, more than just geography!of my wonderful Year 10 students at the University of NSW in Sydney. Our project is called ‘Journeys through Wombool’. This project is an interactive map of our local river incorporating cultural, historical, geographical and ecological perspectives. It links to Australian and NSW Stage 5 curriculum outcomes in Science, Geography and History.

Originally I was planning to use augmented reality to place virtual Easter eggs in different locations. Unfortunately, the technology seemed buggy and difficult to access and the conventions of geo-caching and geo-tagging did not seem to support what I was hoping we could do.

Luckily, Google introduced My Maps to the Drive apps. Problem solved! As a Google Apps for Education school, My Maps was easy to access and for students and staff to collaborate on a single project. My Maps allowed us to incorporate information and multimedia and attach it to a geographical location. We could do this by roughly finding a location on the map or by using exact coordinates when we had them. The technology was simple to use, freeing us to concentrate on the content and exploration.

The presentation below gives an overview of the project:

I hope that our students can continue to add to the map over coming years as we explore more of the Macquarie River. One delegate at the Symposium suggested we create an ‘open’ version for the whole community. An idea worth exploring…

Below is our project. Click on a point on the map for information and media. One of my favourite elements is the Tracker Riley Bike Track: Soundscape.

Google Maps Engine – where have you been all my life?!?!

I’ve been a fan of Google Maps for some years now. Despite being spatially and geographically challenged, it has helped me get to where I’m going on many occasions. Only (very, vSimple Google Maps icon ery) recently I discovered the magic of Google Maps Engine Lite and the huge potential it has to be used in the classroom across so many curriculum areas. It’s free and easy to use. Log into your Google account, go to Google Maps, from the search bar select ‘My custom maps’ and get started with a new map and a new layer.

A simple example for using Google Maps Engine Lite is getting students to map locations used in a book or around a particular historic event. You can add complexity by getting students to add additional information such as:

  • pictures
  • information about the location
  • links to other websites

You can also get students to collaborate on a map using the ‘Share’ feature.

Here is a link to a simple map I created using significant childhood locations:

I added a little bit of information and a link to a photo with most of the pinned locations on the map.

Below as a great tutorial on using Google Maps Engine Lite to make data come alive in the classroom from Contour Education. It’s a great idea and, once again, one that can be used with lots of different topic areas.