Thing 21: Mapping & Geolocation Tools

I love learning new things and explored four of the “educational options” on the list that included the GeoGuesser40 Maps, Infinity of Nations, and SmartyPins.

My favorite, by far was GeoGuesser, where you are given a “street view” of somewhere in the world. You can 360 the view and use the clues within the view to guess geographically where you are in the world. Once you place your “pin” then you “make guess” and you earn points based on how close you were. For students who are unfocused, I can see this being a great calming activity as you must use visual clues to figure it out, specifically vegetation as well as structures, roads, or atmosphere. It also gave a deeper understanding of the places we don’t normally visit and how we perceive a location to be one way and instead it may be completely different. Likewise, my lesser favorite, but what uses the same premise is a trivia-based game, SmartyPins, where you use a pop culture reference or history reference to try to place it around the world and again, win points for your proximity. This one could be more frustrating to use with students as some of the references are quite obscure, though, as with the visual cues for GeoGuesser, for SmartyPins, you could use question clues to try to help. I’m going to add these to a list of activities on our library site to fight boredom and test your knowledge! While also emailing our ENL department and Social Studies department because it could be a bit of a time killer to play with a remaining five minutes, or like today, the last day before a break, when there are only a few students in attendance at school!

Infinity of Nations was just a neat matching game that taught you as much as challenged you. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out what to do and how to drag/drop. Likewise, it took me a minute to figure out how to pull the image and it’s very sensitive and a bit finicky which could be frustrating.

And last, the 40 maps taught me so much and I can see students studying these before creating an infographic. Many infographics showcase information using maps to represent location or density of something or help explain a concept. Map 12: Visualizing Global Density was the most shocking. And knowing that many, especially boys, are visual learners, having these maps is yet another way to represent something. We’ve learned quite a bit there year about strategies for our ENL students, one being that the more visuals you can provide, the better, so I would add maps like these to provide more context. And the map tattoo on that man’s back with shaded areas for where he’s visited, but awesome. If only I were more of a world traveler and had the skin space and wherewithall to do that!

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6 thoughts on “Thing 21: Mapping & Geolocation Tools

  1. Oh, how did I miss that tattoo map! Not sure I’d do that, but what a cool idea. Love your point about so many students being visual learners. Great idea to have students use them as inspirations for their own infographics. (What are ENL students??)

    1. Alicia Abdul says:

      It’s the most politically correct and newest buzzword for ESL students. They are considered English as a New Language because many are learning English as a third, fourth, seventh language not “second” language as ESL implied. And they are not ELL (English Language Learners) because well, who knows, why they decided against that one.

  2. Tia says:

    I love the idea of using GeoGusser as a calming activity. This is a really great way to get someone to focus.There are a lot of great resources out there today and this one is on the top of my list! Infinity of Nations is a great resource too – I checked it out last year and thought it was challenging, but also a little tricky at times.

    1. Pollyalida says:

      I learned about the Infinity of Nations site from you, Tia. 🙂 Everybody’s blog posts really help me find good content to include in revisions of these lessons!

  3. I really liked the Infinity of Nations site as well. My fifth graders loved it because it they were already learning about the Native American topics. They found Geoguesser frustrating sometimes because they didn’t have enough background knowledge. What age level students did you use it with?

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