Common Sense


Great Apps and Websites for Mapmaking

Creating and using maps helps students develop spatial-thinking skills that carry over into other subjects like math and science. As they begin to see the relationships between the places and spaces around them, students will find it easier to visualize difficult concepts and make connections. By making their own maps, students apply knowledge spatially and visually, weaving geographical stories. This helps students understand how geography and space -- and the way we represent these things -- communicates and shapes our societies, cultures, and histories. To immerse students in maps and mapmaking, check out these apps and websites that'll get students annotating points of interest, pinning photos to locations, creating virtual field trips, sharing creations with others, and more.  

Continue reading

Top Picks


PrintPrint list

Google Earth

Virtual globe shines with breathtaking features, endless possibility

Bottom line: Outstanding features, interactivity, and astonishing versatility -- the virtual total package for kid explorers.

GooseChase EDU

Digital scavenger hunts provide dynamic, fresh learning experiences

Bottom line: Students and teachers will enjoy the powerful learning of a modern scavenger hunt.

Google Lit Trips

Free virtual sightseeing tours let kids explore literary settings

Bottom line: A good starting point for extending students' engagement with the classroom’s most-used literary texts.


High-quality customizable maps help students understand their world

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.


"Just one more turn" gameplay jazzes up geography

Bottom line: It's not a typical educational game, but students are inspired to explore the world and encouraged to think critically about what defines culture and geography.

Google Maps

Cool extras bolster top navigation app

Bottom line: Google Maps is an essential navigation tool that can empower students to explore their world.


Add a hint of fun to note-taking or annotating images

Bottom line: It's easy to annotate images and screenshots, take handwritten notes, and organize it all with Evernote.


Unique annotation tool adds learning depth to images, videos

Bottom line: It's unlike anything else out there, helping students and teachers produce interactive multimedia presentations embedded in images and videos.


Crowdsourcing is key to making history accessible, approachable

Bottom line: Historypin is an engaging tool to get kids interested in the history of their community and the world.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

See related resources