You May Be a Geeky Teacher if You Can’t Use a Map and Photo Without a Bit of Technology

As a teacher, primary sources play a critical role in the classroom and maps and photographs can give a great sense of place to a student. By taking the learning one step forward, we can explore what it means to be a digital citizen as well. 

So as a geek, I cannot handle using just a map alone without using it to connect students across the globe or for that matter placing them in their own backyard to explore, investigate, and learn. 

If you haven’t learned about the resources below before take a look again. They have been highlighted on this blog and in other places before but they are important to revisit if you want to bring some inquiry in the classroom setting. 

Have you tried having students explore a map using QR codes? 
Print out a series of QR codes and place them on a resource to liknk students out to basic information to support their research and investigations. OR better yet, have students analyze a map and create their own QR codes with investigative questions to place on the map for other students to look at. 

A Great Map Rsource: www.loc.gov
A super QR code creater:http://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/

Have you taken students to a map in past and present? 
Take a look at how places change over time by investigating a place. Better yet get the students in the field to find their own changes in THEIR environment.

Find a historic map at www.loc.gov
Explore the map in Google Maps: https://maps.google.com/
See the Then and NOW: http://www.projectrephoto.com/

Have you explored the building of a historic site and placed it in the context of place? 

Explore the amazing photographs and plans of historic sites around the country in the Library of Congress Building America Collections : http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/

Have students examine the maps and architectural drawings associated with a place and evaluate the HOW and WHY of the construction and placement of buildings in relationship to the economy, agriculture, history, and geography.

Have you thought about taking a virtual road trip? 
Take your students on a collaborative journey using flat classroom, google lit trips or map pins on Google. In Flat Classroom, join students from across the world to discover places and history that are important to them. Collaboration and connections are easy and amazing in their outcomes! 

Flat Classroom Project( Flat Connections) http://www.flatconnections.com/

Have you thought about having students document an event or series of events in history? 

Using a great new tool have students document their journey to a place with maps, documents, narrative, and other data. OR have students document their research on a particular topic.

See how one geeky teacher librarian put this in her classroom ...

Have you thoughts about digitally marking up a primary source to see what students learn? 

Use some of the tools below to edit and change primary sources in a flash to promote inquiry in your students learning. 

Have you thought about having your students present a journey through another lens? 

Try having your students explore a place (historic or in the present) through the lens of a set of primary sources.


We will be adding to this list --- but for now -- take one tool and try it out and see how your students harness the power of technology in the classroom. 

The Power Researching PLACE in the Classroom: Resources for Learning About Historic Landmarks

The Importance of Place in the Classroom: Local, State and Global Understandings by Using Online Resources for Research

Place in the classroom can encompass many things, and cross-curricular ideas can easily emerge using simple technology tools in conjunction with a connection to a place in our world. For educators and students alike, place can be a hard thing to define yet it plays a role in almost all content areas depending on the lens we employ as teacher or student.  

Think about moving your students up the ladder of critical thinking by concentrating on all levels of Depths of Knowledge or Blooms  Taxonomy using key questions. How about asking your students to consider:

What role does this historic site have in the shaping of local, state, or national history?

How does this place play a role in the transfer of of goods and services across the region?

How is this place illuminated in the stories and literature written about this region?

How did the architects and engineers consider the environment when designing the building which is now here? 

How can we preserve this place for future generations?  (or maybe open the debate of if it should be preserved at all?)

Research Resources for Learning About Historic Places

This is by far not an exhaustive list of resources but it gives some simple ideas on how to bring the study of place to your students through simple analyzation strategies and project-based learning.

Local and State History:

Explore your local historic sites and community resources. These small museums are often much more flexible in their learning resources and many offer the chance to get hands-on experiences with primary sources. In Colorado we have several resources available to explore historic sites and use in research:

You can explore historic sites which played a role in these decisions by researching them in the COMPASS system.(http://www.historycolorado.org/oahp/compass) By requesting free educator access to this historic preservation database, teachers can find little known information on landmarks, access photos and deep background on historic sites through the national register nomination forms that is often not available elsewhere

State and National Landmarks Listing: 
Local, State, and National Landmarks in Colorado: Local, State, and National Historic Landmarks exist across the state of Colorado in our communities. Many are unknown to students. Share with students the local landmarks in your area and what makes them important to your community. (Resources to find your local landmarks can be found at: http://www.historycolorado.org/oahp/listed-properties) Consider including the story of one of the landmarks in your local area in your history studies by having students research and explore the places which surround them or that they are interested in across the state.

For other states consider using... 

Check out the National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places Website and Teaching Page: 

Another option is to have younger students check out the Web Ranger Program. You can find and explore our well known and smaller parks and historic sites online:

Look for regional consortiums. One of the best places to start is your state tourism department, (or one in another state you are studying). Check out your state office of historic preservation or your state landmarks program. 
Regional museums and local historic sites work together to make history come alive. Some nice examples include:  

National Underground Railroad Trail: 

Local List of Lincoln Sites: 

Civil War Trust: 

National Resources:

Teaching with Primary Sources- The Library of Congress ( Check out maps, photos, and Building America Collections! ) 

The National Park Service

The National Archives
The White House Historical Association

The National Trust for Historic Preservation

Global Resources:

Flat Classroom Project: 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Visualizing Cultures