Pros: A wealth of tools and resources provide teachers and students with opportunities to create, view, and interact with custom maps for a variety of educational uses.
Cons: Free account has limited functions, while a full account requires time to understand all the features.
Bottom Line: This map app takes time to learn to use but offers both teachers and students highly useful tools for creating custom maps and interactive social studies and science presentations.
Although specifically billed as a resource for the social studies classroom, StrataLogica also can work well in the science classroom, and even in an ELA classroom. Social studies teachers can create projects to help students locate key places on a map or mark key events during a particular time period. For example, a World History teacher may have students locate famous places in Ancient Greece or mark key events during World War 2, while a U.S. history teacher may have students track the Underground Railroad or key events of the Civil Rights Movement. Science students can create custom maps to highlight certain land formations, compare two geographical regions, or even mark the known locations of an endangered species. In an ELA class, the same types of maps could be used as an alternative to a traditional research paper. For example, students could create a biographical map, highlighting key locations and events in a historical figure's life, or create a series of maps to show how the number and locations of Major League Baseball teams have changed over time.
Teachers with registered accounts also have access to StrataLogica's bank of lesson plans, which include multiple lessons aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Editor's Note: StrataLogica is no longer available.com
StrataLogica allows users to interact with their geographic world by giving them the tools to view and compare different kinds of maps and geologic layers, to mark maps to represent key events and locations, and even to create collaborative projects and presentations. After logging in to the app, users can choose to access a specific map library, custom map views, or presentations and projects. In the free version, in-app purchases (at $1.99 each) help users gain access to specific presentations, while registered users can access their own presentations and any parts of packages purchased by their school or district. Registered students also can find projects assigned by their teachers.
When viewing and interacting with maps, users have the option to use a variety of tools to customize those maps. These include marking locations with pins, placing icons to represent buildings or events, measuring the distance between two points, labeling, and writing notes or other descriptors. The dual map viewer allows users to view two different maps at once in order to understand how maps have changed over time, view different geologic layers, or compare two different parts of the world, for example. Registered users can access additional features, such as an ebook and atlases, and can also share their maps through email, social media, or with their colleagues or students. Teachers and students can also log in to the Web-based system to access lesson plans and other resources.
StrataLogica bills itself as a top resource for social studies education, and it does a good job of fitting that description. Kids don't just look at maps, they get a chance to use the maps to create meaning and to show what they've learned. While the lesson plans, atlases, and ebooks provide teachers with the opportunity to share information with students, the highlight of the app's learning potential lies in the user's ability to create presentations and customize maps. By marking and labeling locations, and even by determining the distance between two points, students can begin to understand the world in a variety of ways and make connections between important people and events and their locations.
A bit of practice will be necessary, however, for students to do this effectively. Teachers must allow students time to learn about the different tools, and create structured projects to help them understand the different ways they can use those tools. The app itself also lacks some features -- such as audio recordings of city, state, and country names, or the ability to record audio notes -- that could make it more accessible for lower-level students and those with special needs. While the lack of some in-app supports may make it harder for these students to use the app, with a little additional practice and teacher support, they too can find a way to learn with the app.