Web 2.0 – Review of the Week

Part of the mission of the M3 blog is to review and demonstrate the power that Web 2.0 tools have to offer our libraries and, oftentimes, the classroom too. Obviously some tools will be better than others. Some may be better suited for certain schools in certain areas and less so in others. As your neighborhood friendly librarian, the reviews will always be fair. The reviews won’t share only the best of the best and can include some of the worst. Not to worry though fellow readers, I think you’ll be quite impressed with the first Web 2.0 in this review series – Scribble Maps.

First off, immediately opening the site, it is very easy to use with straight forward links, buttons, icons. Scribble Maps allows users to type, draw, embed images directly onto maps (provided by Google, of course). Students can really mark up maps by highlighting routes with various colors to differentiate paths and use any number of markers to personalize the map. If looking for specific places, a search engine at the top of the map intuitively predicts and finds the intended locations.

What I love is the ability for collaboration and ease of “turning in” the assignment for the teacher. After saving the map, students have options to automatically share, email, and embed maps. Students can pass their maps around to work together or peer edit details and, when completed, the maps can just be sent to the teacher. No papers. Easy to grade. Fosters collaboration. After reading all of this, why are you still reading this post rather than checking it our for yourself? I’ll wait, it’s ok. Here.

Still here? So I mentioned that maps can be embedded. It turns out the folks at Scribble Maps really want to make their product social. What? You don’t think your students will want to tweet their latest map from class? Yeah, mine neither. But. But they are suited for blogs… quick shout out to WordPress (that’s a review for another day though). Below is a map that I created and embedded as an example of what a 6th grade student might create while reading the novel Hatchet.

Not a bad looking map, even if I do say so myself. I have to admit it was pretty fun playing with the different options and controls I had over the map. I had the feeling of being a “Creative Communicator”… you know like ISTE Standard 6. What? You don’t know what that is off hand? Basically (and by “basically” I mean “an exact quote”) this means that “students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.” That’s a mouthful so let’s keep it at – Scribble Maps assists students in becoming creative communicators.

Depending on how it is used, I think Scribble Maps really is appropriate for all ages and grade levels. Although I believe most students will be able to play with the site and figure it out (that’s a whole other post for another time), some students and teachers might need a little guidance. On the homepage, there are video tutorials, map exemplars, and FAQs with links to popular answers and articles. For a quick tutorial, using a similar example to the map above, checkout this screencast (ahem, mine) or just read the narration.

Your homework for the week: get your students creating timelines, journeys, historical and fictional trails, itineraries, “treasure” maps, or even better let them figure out what they can do with Scribble Maps. I bet they’ll impress you!

So that’s it. A quick review. An example or two. Even a screencast. That’s what you can expect from the Web 2.0 review posts. If there are certain tools you want reviewed or shared to the world, please leave a comment below. In fact, if you have anything nice to say, you can leave a comment below too.


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