Friday, March 4, 2011

Skip to My Map

With Spring Break just around the corner for most teachers and students we all know that another series of "What I did on Spring Break" reports are not far behind.  With that in mind i wanted to share a rather interesting collaborative project I discovered just a few hours ago called Mindskip. Sometimes it's not just about the utility it's about how it is applied.   This site allows people from around the world to add their stories to a Google map.  According to the About Us page at Mindskip, they are about "exploring the world through shared stories, pictures, videos and sound recordings about all the places in our lives."  

Basically, this site let's you easily add stories and pictures to a Google Map.  But what makes it somewhat unique is that they allow teachers to sign up for an account and create class projects.  This is where my idea for Spring Break comes in.  Why not create a project where you have your students mark and cite information about where the visited during their time away from school?  They can add text, pictures and presumably audio to their own adventure and also comment and reflect on each others posts.

I was intrigued by some of the "placemarks" that were added in the middle of the ocean where no land exists and was impressed by what appeared to be an assignment a teacher had given where the students had to create their own island and give a brief description.

My favorite was a post about the fictitious Hope-a-topia which said: "My island is in the Pacific Ocean west of South America. One of our fine features is that there are five islands in total. Sandy's Island-which is in the shape of a dog head-is named after my beloved dog and only has a population of about 1000. Creasent Island is named after the shape of it and only has about 950 people. Starfish Isle is named after the plentiful amount of ocean life and beaches located on it. No one lives on this island to keep its natural beauty alive, but you may spend the day there."   Sounds like Utopia to me!  Maybe I'll go there for Spring Break.

So you see your students don't even have to go anywhere to report on their journeys.  Creativity is what happens when you think outside the box and using a tool project like Mapskip can certainly help you do that.

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