Wednesday, June 4, 2014

GoogleTreksTM: Add the whole world to your lessons.

Last Friday, I had the great privilege of speaking at the AzTEA MAG (Microsoft, Apple, Google) Conference. One of the benefits of being a speaker is being able to attend the other breakouts when you are not speaking. I love listening to other educators because I always learn something new!

I attended a breakout by Dr. Alice Christie. She has developed an amazing FREE (I love free!) classroom tool called GoogleTreksTM. The GoogleTreksTM process allows you to create an entire lesson on a Google map that can include lessons, rubrics, pictures, videos, discussion questions; the list of possibilities goes on! 

Here are some great examples of lessons that have already been created:

Farm Animals by Lauren Powder. This is a lesson for primary students that allows them to learn about 8 different animals that live on the farm. The lesson includes videos, sounds, and coloring sheets.

Ancient Egypt by Linda Henderson. This trek takes elementary students on a trip through ancient Egypt. It includes images, a Quizlet for review, lesson plans and a quiz. 

Runaway to Freedom; a Story of the Underground Railroad created by Julie O'Rielly. This trek for middle school language arts students complements the book Runaway to Freedom by Barbara Smucker . It includes maps to key locations in the book, vocabulary, and links to historical documents, like slave sale notices, to bring the book to life.

NFL Across the Country: Variance and Standard Deviation by Arlander Gathing. This lesson is for use in a high school statistics class and using videos, football, and math to teach complex statistics concepts.

There are MANY more lessons available on the GoogleTreksTM website for all different age groups and content areas. Take a few minutes and explore the website.

In addition to pre-created treks, there is a tutorial on how to create your own trek. The tutorial is very informative, but if you have used Google for more than 5 minutes, you know that it changes constantly. Some of the instructions are no longer current. For example, at the time of this blog, there is no My Places in the at the top left. It is now called My Custom Maps and is found by hovering over the box in the upper left hand corner. If you follow the tutorial, you will still get the idea of what you are looking for, even if the instructions where to find it are no longer exact. Dr. Christie is in the process of creating a new tutorial that utilizes the current incarnation of Google Maps, so check back frequently.

The great things about treks? You don't have to be the only one to create them! You can have students create treks as well. There is a page dedicated to student created treks. Currently, there are five treks, but have your students create one and it can be added to the list!

GoogleTreksTM are not just a great way to integrate technology, but they can be used as PBL by letting students create treks. They can be used to flip a classroom. They can be used in large group, small group, and independent work. They are very versatile and very easily differentiated. So take a few minutes this summer to explore GoogleTreksTM. It's a great tool for your classroom and best of all, it's free!


  1. I am received a good idea from you and thank you for nice post. this is informative post.
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  2. "Ancient Egypt by Linda Henderson" is really a great work. Thanks much.