Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Google Lit Trips: Literary Maps Meet 21st Century Literacy Skills

This summer, I’m exploring a variety of Web sites and tools that you can use in the classroom and/or for your own professional development. Each week, I’ll talk about how it works, point out related sites, and discuss classroom connections. This week, I focus on using Google Earth to create 21st Century Literary Maps.

Looking for ways to combine digital literacy skills, research, literary study, reading and writing for the web, and more? All you need is Google Lit Trips! This one tool can provide cross-curricular connections, literary exploration, and 21st century literacy skills. It’s simple. Literary Maps + Google Earth = a great classroom resource!

Literary maps were a highlight of NCTE’s Annual Convention last November. In case you’re unfamiliar, a literary map shows locations related to a piece of literature, the life of an author, or literary locations in a particular place (e.g., all the authors born in a state).

When NCTE first began inviting affiliates to bring literary maps to convention, the maps were typically made of poster or display board, like those shown in the 1994 English Journal article “The Making of a Literary Map.” The maps included in Google Lit Trips show what happens when literary maps are plotted out online, on the backdrop of the satellite maps that comprise Google Maps.

This image shows the locations on a Google Lit Trip for Elie Weisel’s Night, created by Technology Integration Coordinator Jerome Burg.


Burg, who teaches at Granada High School in Livermore, CA, has plotted significant locations on the map of Europe, indicated by the Stars of David. When loaded in Google Earth, the map includes pop-up windows that include additional information, links, and photos. To see how the maps work, watch my overview of several maps.

What’s it take to use these maps in the classroom? A free copy of Google Earth and a download of the map from the Google Lit Trips on the site. The Lit Trips site includes instructions and tips making the process very easy. You can use the maps that are already on the site or design maps yourself or with students. Go ahead. You’ll find it strangely addictive.


Convention Connection! Google Lit Trips creator Jerome Burg will present “GoogleLitTrips: Make a World of Difference in Your Classroom” at NCTE’s Annual Convention in San Antonio in November.

2 comments:

jay elliot said...

Traci,
This is Jerome Burg writing. How very kind of you to mention the GoogleLitTrips.com project. And, how kind to mention my presentation in San Antonio for the NCTE conference.

Coincidentally, I happen to be in San Antonio right now attending the NECC conference (National Educational Computing Conference)

I'm looking forward to sharing the project at NCTE and returning to San Antonio.

Thanks again,
Jerome

Stacy Goldberger said...

What a practical idea for giving students an in depth understanding of a story as well as a lesson on geography. I taught Night for the first time last January and had some challenges with all of the maps I used to supplement the story. Actually, I am hoping to play around with the mapping features of google so I can use a literary map for Farewell to Manzanar and Touching Spirit Bear as well.