Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spacehopper - Challenge Students With Geography Puzzles Based on Street View

Spacehopper is a new geography game that I recently tried on the recommendations of Keir Clarke and Larry Ferlazzo. Spacehopper features geography questions that are based on Google Maps Street View imagery. Spacehopper shows you a Street View image and you have to guess where in the world the image was captured. You can click the clue button to have the country identified before making a guess. After three incorrect guesses the correct answer will be revealed to you. You can play Spacehopper on a global level or you can specify that you only want to see images from a particular continent.

Applications for Education
Playing Spacehopper could be a good way to get students to focus on thinking about all of the information available to them in an image. To make accurate guesses on Spacehopper, students will need to account for clues that could help them identify the pictured locations.  For example, in the image above students can see that it was taken at a beach, there is a sign that they can read, and if they clicked the clue button they would see that it was taken somewhere in the United Kingdom.

As I wrote about Geoguessr last month, while investigating the imagery in Spacehopper your students may become curious about the things they’re seeing. Then when they finally guess and discover the correct answers they may become even more curious about what they’re seeing. I recently saw this happen with a group of adults to whom I had just introduced Geoguessr. They quickly started investigating the Street View imagery in detail and asking questions like “what is the language on that billboard?”