Thursday, February 10, 2011


This session was taught by Dr. Alice Christie. It covered how K-12 students and teachers can use Google Maps and other Web 2.0 tools to produce interdisciplinary user-created content to engage, empower and motivate 21st century learners.

What is GoogleTreks?

  • An exciting new approach to teaching and learning
  • Tool for creating curricular units
  • Totally web-based
  • Enabled by Web 2.0 tools
  • Easy to share
  • A way to synthesize information in one easy-to-se map that may include: text, photographs, charts, diagrams, links to audio and video files
  • A repository of GoogleTreks created by teachers and students
  • Organized by grade level and content area
  • Created and coined by Dr. Alice Christie
Google LitTips vs GoogleTreks

Google LitTrips: Jerome Burg

  • Use Google Earth
  • Literature ONLY
  • LImited Number of Authors
  • Steep Learning Curve
GoogleTreks: Alice Christie

  • Use Google Maps
  • All Curricular Areas
  • Unlimited areas
  • Easier Learning Curve
Distinguish Between GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps

GoogleEarth is free to download and install.  It needs at least 512mb of RAM and a newer processor.  It requires DSL/Cable and may not work well with slower wireless points.
GoogleMaps does not require any software and can be used with any current browser. It can run with any amount of RAM and any process. It does not require a fast network connection and works well with any wireless connection.

Dr. Alice Christie chose Google Maps because it requires less bandwidth, no programming skills, and it is much easier to navigate, create, and share. It is a free, web-based 2.0 tool. It provides satellite imagery with geographical content.

Why create/use GoogleTreks?

  • To engage and excite learners
  • To help learners conceptualize, visualize, share, and communicate information about the world
  • To provide cross-curicular learning options
  • To add a new dimension to learning environments not previously possible
  • To leverage ubiquitous tools for learning
  • To create active, exploratory, and empowering learning environments

GoogleTreks is an emerging digital tool with potential to enhance learning. It uses real-world data and is continually updated. Kids will gain

GoogleTreks also provide opportunities for students to exhibit their learning to others, use emerging technologies and digital tools, and communicate their research in a personally meaningful way.  It allows them to view their world from a more connected, global perspective.  It also enhances their map reading and navigations skills.

You can add placemarks to GoogleMaps similar to GoogleEarth. You can post videos and photographs to each placemark as students trek through the unit. You can learn more about how to create a GoogleTrek using Dr. Christie's tutorial at Their is also a GoogleTrek rubric along with examples of GoogleTreks posted at her website below.

The one thing that disappointed me with this presentation was that teachers are creating GoogleTreks.  Instead, students should be creating GoogleTreks to share with their peers and others.  I'll be using it as a student created product as part of the research process in my classroom.


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