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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
- Hello educators and welcome back to the Teacher Tips weekly series. This will be our last teacher tip for a while as we head into winter break. And this week, I wanted to share an interactive map website by National Geographic, which is a great way to have students share their travel plans for the upcoming break. The tool is MapMaker Interactive and can be accessed at mapmaker.education.nationalgeographic.com Let's go ahead and take a look at the features of this map tool and then share a few ways to use this tool in the classroom. Here in my web browser, I've already navigated to the website.
The basics of MapMaker is that you start with a map, you can then add annotations and different layers on top of the map. To become familiar with this, let's go ahead and make some annotations of the country Ireland. To get started, let's go ahead and frame our map a little bit better on our page. Now there's several ways that I can zoom in on Ireland. I can double click on my screen and it will automatically zoom in. I can use the plus and minus signs on the left-hand side of the screen, and I can even place my cursor exactly where I want to zoom and then scroll forward to zoom into that location.
Once I've zoomed in, I can also move around the map by clicking and dragging to reposition the map. Now the map that we're currently looking at is the National Geographic map. There's a variety of maps that we can choose from and we can change these by clicking on the Base Maps tab in the right-hand side of the MapMaker Interactive. Here I can choose a topo map, a street map, ocean maps and even a plain gray map for students to add their information on top of. I'm gonna go and do this on the National Geographic map for now. In addition to maps, we also have the opportunity to add layers on top of the map. Layers are simply collections of information that can be categorized geographically.
From the Layers tab, let's go and click on "Add Layer" to take a look at a few of these. On the left-hand side there's a variety of categories of layers that I can add, such as Food, Historical, Water, Earth Systems, even Human Populations. Let's go and click on Earth Systems to take a look at a few of the layers that a science teacher may choose to use with MapMaker Interactive. For example, maybe we'd like to see the Global Time Zones overlaid on top of our map. All I have to do is simply click on a particular layer to add it. I can tell that it's been added because its plus sign has become a negative sign with kind of this maroon background to it.
If I'd like to remove a layer, all I have to do is simply click it again and it will turn back to a green plus sign. I'm gonna re-click this Global Time Zones so that it's added and then close out of the Layers menu by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner. I can now see on top of my map I have this layer added and it actually shows where the various time zone lines are at. Now one thing that I don't like is that it's graying out or making the rest of my map hard to see. Well all layers give us the opportunity to change their transparency. In the right-hand side, under the Layers tab, I can see our Global Time Zones layer.
Here, using the transparency slider, I'm gonna click and hold and drag the small circle to the left, making it more transparent or easier to see through. I can still see the time zone line on the particular map in the background, but it's allowing me to see through this layer a little bit more to my map in the background. At any time you'd like to remove a layer, all you have to do is click the X in the right-hand side, and it's gonna automatically be removed. Now, in addition to zooming in and changing the map as well as adding layers to the map, we can also go through and annotate our map. For example, let's go ahead and calculate the distance between Sligo and Dublin.
To do this, I'm gonna use something known as a polyline. When I click on the polyline, the tool's officially activated and I can now start drawing lines on my map. I'm gonna come down to Sligo, click directly on the city dot, go down to Dublin and click again. Now notice between the two times that I clicked, that a line was drawn. If I'd like to, I could go ahead and click around various places in this map and to continue this line. But because I'm only looking for these two destinations, I'm gonna go and click finish on the left-hand side. Once you click finish, MapMaker Interactive's gonna automatically calculate the total distance of each segment of the route that I just drew on top of the map.
In addition to drawing polylines, I can also draw polygons several ways. One way is to select the polygon tool directly below the polyline tool and simply click around the map. For example, let's say that I'd like to draw a polygon that just kinda shows that Northern Ireland is not actually part of Ireland, but belongs to the U.K. Once I have a polygon drawn around the area I'd like to draw attention to, once again I can click on the finish button and I can see that the polygon has been filled in to draw attention to this particular part of the map. Now besides drawing our own polygons, I can create a square and a circle polygon using the specific tools on the left-hand panel.
To use the square icon, I simply click on it, come down to the area I'd like to highlight, such as Galway and Galway Bay, as well as the area that contains the famous Cliffs of Moher. To do this, I'll simply click and drag and bring a square around the area I'd like to highlight. I'd also like to highlight on this map Cork and the area around Cork which contains the famous Blarney Castle. To do that, I'm gonna go ahead and click and drag on my map to change its position, I'm gonna come over and select the circle polygon tool, and I'm gonna come down to Cork and click. Now one thing to keep in mind is that where I click is gonna be the center of the circle, so I'll put my cursor directly above Cork, I will click and drag out a circle that covers the area I'd like to highlight.
Now besides the polylines and the polygons, we can also add images and markers to our map. Using the markers panel, we can go ahead and select things such as numbered markers to show me the order that the cities were visited in. I can also select from the markers panel various icons that I can place on my map. These icons are a great way to get students to indicate the things that they did in various locations as they travel around for the holidays. One thing that I may want to do with students is to reinforce that Dublin's the capital of this country. To do that I might select a capital icon, drag it over to Dublin and simply click to add it.
Now the final way that we can annotate this map is with text. To add text, let's go and click the text icon. I can now position a text box anywhere I'd like on the map, click to place the text box, I can double click in the text box to add text, and I'm just gonna call this the Ireland Interactive. Once I've added my text, clicking away from it will make the white background disappear and I now have text added. Now we've added a lot of information to this particular map, and we may want to change some of the location of these polygons or polylines. There's an editing icon that's directly below the text button, and when we turn editing on, I can now go through and click and move around any of the annotations that I've added on top of the map.
When it comes to the precreated polygons, if you hover in the middle of the polygon, you'll have the opportunity to move the entire polygon around. Hovering on an anchor point on the edge of a polygon will allow you to change the size of the polygon on the map. Once you've made all the changes, and you're happy with them, let's go and click save changes. Now the final thing that we need to do is to save this map and share with our students. To save a map, let's click on save in the upper left-hand corner, click "Save As," give our map a title, description, and an email address. When you click the final save button, you'll be emailed a link that you can then send on to your students through either a learning management system or even just emailed out to them.
When students click on the link, they can go in and access it and even interact with the map that you've created. This is also a great way to have your students turn maps in. If they've created a map, all they have to do is put your email address in here, and it's gonna automatically email you a link to their map. This map tool has a lot of applications for a variety of subject matters. For science teachers it's a great way to have students create their own maps or weather reports. They can study plate tectonics, or even do some environmental planning directly inside of the tool. For math teachers you can calculate distance, calculate areas, you can talk about grid coordinate systems and planes, all inside of this map interactive tool.
And history teachers can use this as an opportunity to compare and contrast various versions of maps throughout world history. You can even add different layers and ask students to look at the different layers and think about are there any connections or correlations between, let's say, population and water consumption. I hope you enjoy using Map Interactive and find your own way to make this a great learning tool for both you and your students. Thank you for joining me here on Teacher Tips, and as we head into 2015, I wish both you and your students a year of success both in and out of the classroom. And keep your eyes open for additional educational courses here on lynda.com, with new content publishing monthly.
Until then, happy teaching.
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