Recommended Website: Google's My Mapshttp://maps.google.com
Age Range: 5+ with supervision
New ClickSchool Reviewer, Michael Hardt wrote today's ClickSchooling Review.
(Read Michael's bio below.)
If you've ever visited MapQuest (or Google Maps or Yahoo Maps), you know
that you can pan and zoom a world map from your computer. But did you know
you can customize that map for your homeschooling?
Google calls it "My Maps." The beauty of My Maps is:
1. It's free (except for some text ads).
2. It's easy.
3. Google stores it for you and provides a web address (a URL) that you can
email to friends or family to share your map.
My Maps requires a free Google account.
Here's how it works:
1. Go to Google Maps <http://maps.google.com
2. Click the My Maps tab toward the top left.
3. Click the "Create New Map" button. (If you don't have a Google account,
it will prompt you to sign up.)
Once the map comes up, use the features on the map's menu to customize it by
adding colored pins and labels to it, draw lines on it, or even insert
You can also use the "Featured Content" menu on the left side of the screen
for ideas and examples of various interactive maps you can make with this
tool including maps with videos, maps that measure distances from one point
to another, maps depicting places of interest, maps that provide
instantaneous weather information and much, much more!
My Maps made the news last October during the San Diego fires. A public
radio station set up a map to track the fires, evacuated areas, and public
shelters. They broadcast the website address and soon thousands of area
residents were visiting their map to learn about the fires.
Once I started thinking about My Maps for homeschooling, the possibilities
*Label a map with events from your history studies.
*Use the map as a quiz by putting questions onto it.
*Share the map with other families in a reading group. When a child
completes a book, let her add a pin to the map indicating where the author
was from or where the story took place.
*Help young children trace routes to the grocery store or to Grandma's
*Use it as a diary for a family vacation.
One caveat: by default, the map is "Public," which means that any text in
the labels might cause your map to show up in other people's Google
searches. You can click a button that makes it "Unlisted," so that only
someone who keys in the exact map address can find it.
Michael Hardt and
Diane Flynn Keith
Copyright 2008, All Rights Reservedhttp://www.Homefires.comhttp://www.Carschooling.comhttp://www.UniversalPreschool.com
***** ABOUT MICHAEL HARDT *****
Michael Hardt is a homeschool dad to two children ages 8 and 9. He and his wife, Camille, homeschool their children in rural New Hampshire so Internet resources mean a lot to them. Michael used to teach college literature. Now, he manages an engineering team for a software company that makes digital maps. He has also worked as a software engineer on video game graphics at Sony and Electronic Arts. Michael wrote, "I play piano badly, and I still spend too much time browsing the Internet." That's good news for ClickSchoolers! You can read Michael's blog "Family School" (with the subtitle, "Teaching strategies and family humor from inexperienced-but-trying, homeschooling parents" at http://familyschool.blogspot.com/