INDT 501 Week 10: Mini Projects II

The “Instructional Tech Toolbox” is brimming.  Now What?

This week in INDT 501, I am working on creating a Google Trek using Google Maps and an interactive timeline on Capzles. In addition to completing these mini-projects, I have turned most of my attention to envisioning how I will use these tools in the classroom. INDT 501 has and is continuing to introduce me to a myriad of awesome, exciting tools and I keep asking myself, “Now what? How do I use this in my classroom? How can my students use it? What are the possibilities? How does it benefit and support the learning process?”

Keeping the engagement of the learner and types of nifty tools in mind, I began with a backwards design approach and reexamined the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) for Social Studies to answer the questions above. As I flipped through the World History SOLs, I imagined SOL-technology tool pairings, if you will. Obviously, I found that some content lent itself better to Google Treks and some to world cloud tools, etc. etc. Overall, I reaffirmed that the possibilities truly are endless for incorporating technology in the classroom. I could not be more thankful and excited to learn about all of these technologies before I begin teaching. Filling my “instructional toolbox” with all of the INDT 501 goodies will undoubtedly make lesson planning during my first year teaching much easier but, more importantly much more fun for my students. Thanks, Dr. Coffman! 🙂

Now returning to this week’s reflection topic, below is the “skinny” on my mini-projects.

On Google Maps, you can create your own personalized map, dotting it with numerous, interactive points that can be color-coded and include text, photos, videos, instructions, and basically anything else you can imagine! As a teacher, you can create an interactive map for your students to explore. Dr. Alice Christie illustrates this idea well in here Google Trek on “Inventions of the Industrial Revolution.”

While there are a multitude of ways to use this in your classroom, I see Google Treks being used in my classroom as:

-Current Events Warm Up/”Today in (location on map)…” : Every week, two students could work together to present a current event on Friday, using Google Maps. The pair would act much like  CNN political analysts showing the class where a current event is taking place. This activity would be fairly informal  but hopefully, informative and thought provoking. After briefly describing their current event and stating their thoughts on it, the pair would then turn discussion over to the class for further clarification and analysis. This would be a great time to connect what we are learning in the course to current events, whether it be content or method specific.

Blank Paper Map Activity Replacements: Instead of constantly having students fill out and color blank maps on trade routes, empire boundaries, capitals, and battle locations, students can do so on Google Maps and go beyond the limitations of paper maps. With Google Maps, students can create highly interactive maps and there is no worry that students will lose them in a messy backpack when taking the maps home to finish them!

Power Point Presentation Replacements/Visual Aid for Lectures: Not only will students be more engaged during those times when lecture is necessary, the background of the presentation– the map!– is likely to be more memorable than a blank Power Point background. Ideally, using the map will make students more geographically aware of historical events.

Basis for a  WebQuest (Coffman, 2013)/Scavenger Hunt/Virtual Amazing Race: Students can travel from place to place on a map, marking each stop they make with a flag and their responses to teacher generated questions. At each stop, they will be able to see their peers’ contribution to the questions and also pose questions of their own. Google Treks might also work well in a “telecollaborative project” (Coffman, 2013) involving another class from a different school, state, or even country.

In doing the last activity, I see myself trying out a “mock virtual classroom,” (Heitin, 2013) in which students sit in silence, only communicating through the Google Map. Maybe students would also have a class Google Doc or Padlet open to virtually raise their hands/ask questions/communicate. I think doing activities like this occasionally will build students’ digital literacy, improve their communication skills, teach them how to effectively work and learn online, and of course convey content material in a new, exciting way. I must admit, I am getting pumped just thinking about executing a classroom period like this– cannot wait to get in the classroom!


  • Capzles

Capzles is a tool that allows you to create visually appealing, online timelines. Once again, I see myself using this tool in place of PowerPoint when lecturing about events that revolve around chronology, like the development of wars and evolution of legislation. It could also function well as a review for chronological events. Primarily, I see myself incorporating Capzles into student projects. Like they say, those who do the work, do the learning. In this case, those who make the Capzles, remember the material!

-Capzle Lesson Idea: Perhaps, students could use Capzles to teach the class sections of the course. For instance, students could take charge of teaching the class different perspectives of World War II. Groups of three to four students could make a Capzle of the events that shaped World War II, with each group covering events from the perspective of one country in World War II. Then, groups would present their Capzles to the class. Each group would have a slightly and sometimes glaringly different Capzle because how Americans perceived WWII will vary widely form how Japan or Germany viewed WWII. Not only would students learn the major events of WWII, they would see the enormity of it and begin to understand different perspectives. This activity would align nicely with the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, especially on NCSS Theme 2- Time, Continuity, and Change, in that it “develop[s] a deeper understanding and appreciation for differences in perspectives on historical events.”

Well, that’s all for this week, folks! Be sure to check my Professional Web Portfolio later this week for a look at my Google Trek and Capzle projects.


Christie, A. (2011, September 9.) Inventions of the industrial revolution. [Google Trek/Google Maps]. Retrieved from

Coffman, T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students (2nd ed.). Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Education. See Webquests, p. 59-81 and Telecollaborative Activities,  p. 103-28.

Heitin, L. (2013, March 16). Going blended in the classroom. Retrieved from .

National Council for the Social Studies. (2010). National curriculum standards for the social studies. Retrieved from

Virginia Department of Education. (2012). Standards of learning & testing: History and social science. Retrieved from







1 Comment

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One Response to INDT 501 Week 10: Mini Projects II

  1. Wow, Erin. You’ve planned out so many great uses for Google Maps in your classroom! I love it — you made me excited 🙂 and I love how engaging your text formats are throughout the post!
    I’m curious — when you envision these activities, do you foresee them more as being used in high schools or middle schools? Which SOLs did you refer to when planning? Personally, I can imagine them being well-used with either, but I’m unfamiliar with the standards expected — except for Civics 😛 I think the project I was most interested by was the current events one listed first. It seems an excellent way to keep students well-informed of the world around them and continuously updated through news media. Great job!

    PS — I really like the photo at the top — beautiful picture of campus!

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