Tuesday, April 19, 2022

How to Create a Custom Map on an iPad

Yesterday morning I answered an email from a reader who wanted to know if it was possible to create Google Earth projects on an iPad. Unfortunately, the iPad version of Google Earth allows you to view existing projects, but doesn't allow you to create new projects. Fortunately, there are other ways to create custom maps on an iPad. One of those ways to is to use Google's My Maps tool in the Chrome web browser on an iPad. 

In this new video I demonstrate how you can create a custom map on an iPad by using Google's My Maps. 

Applications for Education
There are lots of possible uses for Google's My Maps in geography, history, and literature classes. In fact, I recently published ten fun things for students to map. You could also use My Maps in place of Google Earth to complete an Around the World With Google Earth activity.

A Handful of Resources for Teaching and Learning About Earth Day

This Friday is Earth Day. Here's a handful of resources to consider using if you find yourself looking for some resources to help your students understand the origins of Earth Day, its significance, or celebrating Earth Day.

CBC Kids News offers a good, concise overview of Earth Day. What I like about CBC Kids News is that the information is presented by students for students. 

Storyboard That offers four Earth Day lesson plans. All of the lesson plans have students creating comics or cartoon-style graphics to celebrate Earth Day and or to create Earth Day PSAs. 

SciShow Kids has an Earth Day compilation video through which students can learn about animal habitats, composting, recycling, and building bird feeders. 

Discovery Education has some new resources for Earth Day 2022. These include lessons about sustainable living, renewable vs. non-renewable resources, and engineering for Earth Day. 

C-SPAN Classroom offers some Earth Day themed Bell Ringer activities. These include The Creation of the EPA and The Role of the EPA

Monday, April 18, 2022

Ten Fun Things for Students to Map

Last week I published a video about how to record a Google Earth tour in your web browser. That’s just one of many tools that students can use to create multimedia maps. A few other options include using Scribble Maps, Padlet maps, and Google’s My Maps tool.

Creating a map with one of these tools can help students develop a better contextual understanding of where places are in the world. Rather than just hearing Friday Night Lights was loosely based on Odessa, Texas they can actually see where in the world Odessa, Texas is in relation to other places they may know or have heard of. Continuing from that example, here are ten fun things for students to map.
  • Settings of television shows.
  • Movie locations.
  • The locations of favorite sports teams and their rivals.
  • Settings of favorite books.
  • Birthplaces of celebrities.
  • Origins of dog breeds.
  • Locations of city names in songs.
  • Locations in geography jokes (check here and here for some fun, clean geography jokes).
  • All the places visited in one season of The Amazing Race.
  • List of dream vacation destinations.
For more ideas about using Google Earth in your classroom, take a look at my Around the World With Google Earth activity or enroll in A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies

It's Patriots' Day! Resources for Learning About the Start of the American Revolution

Today is Patriots' Day here in Maine, in Massachusetts, and in a handful of other states. It's a day to mark the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. As a good New Englander and a former U.S. History teacher, every year at this time I like to share a handful of resources for teaching and learning about the American Revolution. 

Pictures of the Revolutionary War is a compilation of images about the Revolutionary War. The images in the collection chronicle the stirrings of rebellion in the pre-revolution years, the war from both American and British perspectives, and events following the Revolutionary War.

The Massachusetts Historical Society offers fourteen lesson plans that are aligned to the theme of The Coming of the American Revolution. The lesson plans include a mix of document analysis activities and group discussion activities. 

Creating Google Earth tours of Revolutionary War battle sites is an activity that I did for many years with my U.S. History students. Students would create multimedia placemarks for each battle in sequence. The placemarks contained information about the outcome and significance of each battle. Here's a video on how to make a tour with with the browser-based version of Google Earth.

Video Lessons
Keith Hughes has a popular video in which he explains the American Revolution for middle school and high school students.

Crash Course has an extensive series on U.S. History. Included in that series is Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution.

Mr. Betts has a YouTube channel on which he posts cartoons and song parodies to teach U.S. History lessons. Here's one he did about the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

For Red Sox Fans!
This is usually the day that the Boston Marathon is held and the Red Sox play a morning game. That tradition has returned this year! For my fellow Red Sox fans here's a famous clip from the 2007 Patriots' Day game.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Expeditions Pro - Guide Students on Virtual Reality Tours

Last year many of us were disappointed when Google announced the closure of their Expeditions program. Shortly after that announcement a new company popped-up to offer an alternative to Google Expeditions. That alternative is called Expeditions Pro. It launched in beta last June and is now available for anyone to install on iOS and Android devices. 

Expeditions Pro has many of the same features that teachers liked about Google Expeditions. Not the least of those is the ability to guide your students on virtual reality tours. As long as you and your students are on the same Wi-Fi network, you can lead them through a tour. When you're leading a tour your students will see arrows on the screens of the their device to point them to what they should be looking at. Additionally, when you pause a tour your students' screens are blurred out until you resume the tour. 

To lead students on guided VR tours in Expeditions Pro, you have to download the tours to your phone or tablet. Your students don't need to download the tours in order to follow along with you. Expeditions Pro offers a growing gallery of virtual reality tours. It is also possible to create and use your own VR tours in Expeditions Pro. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Expeditions on an Android phone and on an iPad. In the video I also show you the teacher and student perspectives of guiding and following virtual reality tours in Expeditions Pro.