Review by Chad Sansing, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2013

Geoguessr

"Just one more turn" gameplay jazzes up geography

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Social Studies

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
4–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (8 Reviews)

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Pros: Clean interface, easy controls, and addictive gameplay make geography appealing.

Cons: Favors players with some travel experience or background knowledge in 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.

Teachers can use Geoguessr as an extension activity in geography or world cultures classrooms, or as a media literacy and critical thinking exercise in any content area. It can serve as a prompt for teaching and learning online and print-based research skills and techniques, or as inspiration for student-designed games using free online resources like photo collections. With dedicated play and more in-depth small-group or whole-class discussion, teachers can use Geoguessr to build students' background knowledge about geography and places that are new to the students (or even to the teacher). Teachers can also connect with classrooms in their schools or from around the world to share challenges and build relationships between students.

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Geoguessr is an addictive puzzler (with version on the web as well as Android and iOS apps) that task students with guessing the location of Google Street View images from around the world. When they're ready to guess, students drop pins on a map next to each picture, but not before scouring the image for clues. See a road sign? What language is it? Don't know? Google it. Can you describe the environment? Is it tropical? Snowy? Search online or in an atlas for a matching region. Been there before? Drop a pin on it. At the end of each round, the game shows players how close their guesses are and awards points based on proximity to the real locations. Players can also share particularly fun games with their friends, challenging them to match their high scores.

Geoguessr is less straight instruction and more a platform for cultivating 21st-century skills. It can be a great -- addictive, even -- motivator for thinking about geography and culture, and for building reasoning and critical-thinking skills in self-directed, small-group, or whole-class settings. When solving a puzzle or trying to beat a friend's high score, students have an opportunity to learn a lot about the world, its regional differences, and its inhabitants. While they'll certainly develop some strategies on their own, students will benefit from some guidance and help to encourage thoughtful play. In this way, Geoguessr can go well with units on visual analysis, finding and using evidence, geographical and cultural differences, and research skills.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Intuitive and addicting with a clean interface and cool concept, Geoguessr will compel kids to explore the world.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

It doesn't teach kids content per se. Still, it encourages them to observe and draw conclusions from geographical differences, pay attention to detail, think critically, take risks, research, self-assess, and try again. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Simple instructions and familiar Google Maps Street View controls make this easy to jump into. Feedback after every turn and at the end of the game makes it easy to self-monitor and set goals for improvement.


Common Sense Reviewer
Chad Sansing Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 8 reviews) (8 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Kary A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Freeman Elementary-Adams
Adams, United States
Exploring the World through Google Maps! Guess where you are by studying your surroundings!
I think this is a great website that allows students to explore locations on a map. Instead of just seeing the location on a map, it allows them to view the landscape, people and environment. Some of them found the arrows and scrolling a little difficult to maneuver, but overall they caught on quite easily. Since it is a website, there was no sign-up or account required, which is really nice. I also appreciate that they can play or practice this skill anywhere. Many of my students have accessed it at home, and even involved their parents in the guesses!
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