Saturday, March 9, 2013

GoogleTreks™

A couple of years ago, I was able to attend a technology presentation by Dr. Alice Christie at TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association).  I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from the session titled "Creating Curricular Units Using Google Maps," but I was certain that I loved Google Maps, and therefore, the topic had to be interesting at the least.  I must say, hands down, it was one of the best sessions I have ever attended.  Dr. Christie's GoogleTreks™ had me thinking about how to engage students in a different way.  A way that was much more meaningful and appealing to students.  A way that let students command their own learning at their own pace.




GoogleTrek™ uses Google Maps as the visual presentation tool for a student centered lesson.  By taking a concept, in any discipline area, and representing the critical content on a map, students are able to synthesize information all the while navigating through the web on an exploration of learning.  Treks come in a variety of formats and are laid out in numerous ways but all contain important content for students and an assessment component to gauge learning.

As a professional development trainer, I use GoogleTreks™ as a perfect example of how to incorporate Web 2.0 tools into the classroom in a meaningful way.  Currently, I'm working with a small group of teachers who are pursuing a masters degree in instructional technology.  We have been examining different ways to bring Web 2.0 tools into the classroom on a meager budget and with limited resources.  GoogleTreks™ has been one of our favorite tools.  Take a look at some of my favorites (of course they come from some of my students):




If you're looking to transform some of your lessons into web-based, student centered activities, try creating your own GoogleTreks™.  Your students will love it.


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