Monday, August 1, 2016

Thoughts after CAGTI16 (Geo Teachers Institute) part 1

So this time last week I was helping lead the Californian Geo Teachers Institute.  John Bailey had filled his hall to capacity with some amazing teachers (example blog post), educational technologists, librarians...  I thought I'd jot down some thoughts.

Maps are for everyone:  Firstly, its interesting to note the difference between Geo in the USA and in the UK - here, geography is a core school subject so if you put on a GTI you'd mostly attract geography teachers.  STEM teachers would mostly stay away - I predict they'd say 'maps are for geographers'.  In the States, geography is far less strong at school level so a range of teachers from many subjects showed up to learn what Google Geo tools could do for them.  Geo tools are now so easy to use that they can be used across subjects and it would be good if this could done in the UK too.

What Google Earth is for:

So true...
Map Design:  I did a session on map design for teachers.  As part of this I produced a worksheet that takes you through creating some of the basics of good map design via Google My Maps.   Important design points worth making about my maps:
  • Google My Maps now allows you to select the base map.  Subtle and pale is good as the worksheet example illustrates.
  • I find My Maps to be simpler to use than ArcGIS online
  • You can choose a rainbow range to style your data.  I can't think of a reason you would EVER want to use this and, each time you do, a puppy dies - Kenneth Field rants about rainbow maps as well.  

I'll save discussion of tour tips, my thoughts on expeditions and the future of Google's Geo tools for a second post.

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