Summer is now underway and many of you are probably on
vacation. One great way to share your summer fun with your new students next
year is to create a trip journal. Check out the trip
journal I made after my wife came out following the DEN Institute and we
tripped around DC.
How did I do this? First you need a Google account.
Second, you need a place to store your photos online (Flickr works fine). Start
by locating your vacation spot on a GoogleMap. If you’re logged in, you’ll see
a My Maps tab in the corner. Click on it and click ‘Create a new map’. You’ll
also see 4 tools at the top of the map. These allow you to create lines,
placemarks, and shapes. Every object you create on your map is totally editable.
To make it really come alive, click Edit on an object and
click Rich Text. In another browser window, find an image – can be any image on
the internet including your own (I used my Flickr photos). Right click on the
image and click ‘Copy Image Location’ (in Internet Explorer, you have to click ‘Properties’
and copy the URL). Now go back to your map and your object’s edit bubble. Click
the Insert Image icon and paste the image’s URL into the pop-up window. Click
OK when you’re done and test it out. Save your map. You may get some long text
lines – these can be fixed by simply hitting returns (on your keyboard) in the Rich
Text editor. Finally, to share your map click ‘Link to this page’ in the upper
right hand corner. You’ll get either a small pop-up window or notice the full
URL in your browser’s address bar. Make sure to Save often as leaving the page will
cause you to lose all your changes.
After returning home and spending hours on our trip journal,
I discovered some other tools that make this process easier. Yahoo has created Trip Planner, a tool for users to
create their own travel guides. It’s a little bulky but there are some nice
features such as the Trip Journal and the ability to print your guide. Flickr
has also added Geotagging as one of their photo sharing tools. This is new and
there are bugs to work out but this also has great information organizing
applications for students. Check out their tutorial. Combined with the other built in features of Flickr (including connection to your blog) this is a great potential tool.
So try creating your own trip journal to share with your new class next year. This would also be great interactive first assignment for your students.