How I Use It
As I was teaching a novel that had a setting in Japan, the students became very confused about the description of rice paddies. Therefore, I used Google Maps and looked at Japan and found a rice farm. The students them made the link between text and world. After that, the students wanted to use Google Maps to look up any unfamiliar setting we encountered in any and all subjects. We were able to look at the areas where wars were fought, the different ecosystems around the world, and the different regions of the US and our own state.
My overall opinion on this tool is great. However, the only drawback I encountered was when the students went to the computer lab and completed independent research and were instructed to describe a place using Google Maps, they wondered away the topic ad looked at their home addresses as well as families. This became a constant source of monitoring. I did let them look at their home, but then it became a game. Other than that, it was very useful. Before Google Maps can read about a setting, many couldn't picture it. With the help of this technology tool, it connects the dots for them. Therefore, those students who have not traveled out of their home county, were on a level learning field.