Using Maps to Stimulate Who needs imagination when you can actually go there! By Julian S. Wood A meme was posted to Twitter recently which said:
Use of Google Earth… Allows you to explore the entire world Everyone just looks up pictures of their house I kind of agreed with this, but also knew of loads of great ways that I have used Google Earth, Maps and StreetView in my classroom. Maybe people only used it to look at their houses because they weren’t aware of all the great resources out there. In this article I’ll showcase some of the brilliant resources that will definitely stimulate learning, especially writing, in your class. I teach in the top 2% most deprived areas in Europe, the students have a paucity of imagination because of their lack of experience, missed opportunities to visit places and having very little background of wider reading. They don’t tend to watch the Discovery Channel either! So it’s with little surprise that they fail to be ignited when the teacher stands in front of them and tells them that they have just climbed the largest mountain in the world (Did we drive up?) and are now standing at the tallest point on Earth (I’ve been to the top of Blackpool tower). Could they now describe what they are looking at? (No) Could they write about they’re amazing journey? (Not really) and could they write a detailed description of the top? (No chance). Why do we as educators make the same mistakes? Are we trying to test how badly they could write about something? It’s not the students fault, when the nearest they’ve ever
travelled is to the City Centre, they just haven’t the experience or the knowledge to formulate an accurate picture for their imagination to work. It’s not just those poorer students who suffer from this, for most pupils the top of Mount Everest might as well be an alien planet hundreds of light years away. That’s the beauty of today’s internet - the World Wide Web should be renamed Wherever, Whatever, Whoever because with the web you can visit places on this Earth (and beyond) that most of us will never have a chance to visit in the flesh in our lifetimes. Who needs imagination when you can actually go there! After mapping the world (well the places that will let them) with their streetview car, Google have now turned their attention to places that their car can’t get to. They called this Google Treks and use a backpack 360 camera to capture these places.