Friday, February 23, 2007

Community Walk

There are a number of ways to use handhelds in the classroom. One great thing that you can do with them is to take them along on field trips so that students can take notes on what they are learning. But what to do with the notes? One idea is to have students incorporate their notes into a Community Walk.

Community Walk "allows you to create annotated Google Maps. You can add location markers and route markers, upload images, display content from other websites, leave comments, and get directions on your map." Example 1 / Example 2 / Example 3

Having students create and post what they learn to the web is simple. Ideally, you may want to have students work in groups with individuals having specific assignments (photographer, writer, editor, etc).

Here's what you'll need to do to create your own Community Walk:
  1. Create a free Community Walk account for each class or each group of students.
  2. Provide each team with the following tools: Palm and keyboard, clipboard, GPS, and digital camera.
    • If you don't have GPS devices, you can use the MapMuse web site or Google Earth to get your latitude and longitude coordinates. You can obtain the coordinates in Google Earth by creating a placemark (you'll need to make sure that the latitude/longitude is set to decimal degrees rather than degrees/minutes/seconds).
    • If your GPS is set to degrees/minutes/seconds and you don't know how to change it to decimal degrees, you can use a Latitude/Longitude converter.
  3. Determine the focus of your CW assignment. For example, having students take photographs and writing about geometry, botany, or history.
  4. Provide students with a template on their Palm for capturing the information that they will need to include in their CW. Information might include the project title and description, and then specific information for each "stop" along the Community Walk:
    • Location in decimal degrees
    • Title
    • Short description
    • Photograph and caption
Community Walks can be private or shared. If you have a CW to share, please post the address in the comments!

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