Learning With Google Maps
Today, in Media Literacy class, we turned this bizarre incident into a teachable moment - with a little help from Google Maps. If you are from the Philadelphia area you are probably aware that yesterday, an unidentified man held up traffic near 9th and Roosevelt Boulevard causing major problems for motorist all around the area. The man said he was armed and had explosives. As a result of his actions, both lanes of the boulevard were closed - northbound and southbound for over 2 and 1/2 hours.
I happened to be on the boulevard yesterday around the time of the incident and had to choose an alternate route home. I know the area pretty well so it wasn't difficult for me to find an alternate route. The incident got me to thinking about just how well my high school students know their city and whether they could accurately use a map to get from the boulevard to 5th and Olney avenue.
Some of the students nailed the exercise and some were way off track. The students were also asked to post their alternate route on their blog and to use the PrintScreen key to take a map snapshot of the region. The activity worked pretty well and most of the students seemed to get a kick out of using Google Maps.
Geography and map reading always intrigued me when I was in elementary school, but it seems to have been all but forgotten in most high schools today. As many high school students prepare to get their driver's license and learner's permit, it is critical that they know how to read maps and how to give accurate directions. Google Maps is an excellent tool for traveling the country and the world right from your desktop.
Below are two student blog posts from today's activity.