Tech Byte: Telling Stories With Google Maps

Everybody’s Using Google Maps to Tell Digital Stories – And Not Just in Geography Class.Tech Bytes Logo

This week’s Tech Byte gives you a chance to try a taste of a great, free online resource for making map(s) which tell a digital story.

Below is an excerpt from an excellent tutorial by Technology Integration Facilitator Silvia Tolisano from her blog “Langwitches.” She is an amazing blogger who has written quite a few other excellent tutorials about edtech. I hope that someday my blog can be as useful and insightful as hers. First, a couple of terms you will need to be familiar with:

Digital Storytelling denotes using new digital tools to help ordinary people tell their own ‘true stories’ in a compelling and emotionally engaging form. These stories usually take the form of a relatively short story (less than 8 minutes). Educators use it as a method of building engagement and multimedia literacy. They can include web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertexts, and narrative computer games. (The information featured today is Part V in Silvia’s series about Digital Storytelling.)

Mashups are a combinations of various media like video, web sites, audio, links, etc. .

Helpful and explicit instructions, screen shots, and examples of how to create a free GoogleMaps account (and use it) are included in her post, which I now quote:


“Understanding is directly related to being able to connect new material, facts, ideas, and concepts to previously learned knowledge…. Thanks to a company named Google, we no longer are confined to a photo album, a world map with push pins or a heavy family atlas to connect stories and images from around the world. Thanks to Web 2.0 tools, we can mash-up media, such as photos, videos, audio, and links that take us to explore further to TELL a story in more detail and with more connections to the world around us than ever before. We can invite others to collaborate in telling a story that has many perspectives, memories, or meanings.

How can you or your students write a story with a map?

1. Create a Scavenger Hunt around the World
2. Use an image of a place anywhere on Earth or your own backyard as a story starter
3. Map the settings of a book you are reading
4. Write a collective “Where have you been this summer” as a class
5. Follow a biography of an important character in history and events that influenced or were influenced by him
6. Tell the story of learning and where that took place in your classroom in a school year.

Check out what these example sites that use maps to tell a story:

* Google LitTrips
This site is an experiment in teaching great literature in a very different way. Using Google Earth, students discover where in the world the greatest road trip stories of all time took place …
* Find a Story-Map a Story- Tell a Story
There is an interesting relationship between place, story and community. As we revisit these places in our memory, we realize how stories naturally attached themselves to places from our past and how they shape us in the present.”

I dare you to visit “Digital Storytelling With Google Maps”!

With thanks to:

Where’d the Blog Go?

If you are looking for my personal blog about Ed Tech, it has been moved to:.   I was hoping to use this space as one of my classroom teaching sites. However, even though the blog itself isn’t blocked at school, the editor is. So are all wikis. What more can I say? Denied again by the whims of Websense and the Powers That Be.

I keep using Learn With Tech, although I find that since it has no interactivity I am no longer satisfied with it. The great news is that I can access, edit and publish at work. I’m working out how to make my sites more participatory while respecting the confines given to me by my employers.

I have another static professional site for my own personal use, The Tech Trainer, which has been sadly neglected and is quickly becoming out of date. I will be attempting to update that or redirect it soon.

I can only maintain so many spaces, sites, and blogs, so look for me to consolidating as much as possible in the coming months at