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Welcome and Resources

Welcome to the Geospatial Tools class page. We are creating a repository of resources and lesson plans for this class and future ANUAH Geospatial tools groups. 


Post YOUR OWN great resource links under the comments section.

Some great resource links:

National Geographic Geography Bee

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  • Here are a few links.  Some you may already have from the class or you may have found them on the AGA ning.  I thought I'd put them here just in case.

    http://snap.uaf.edu/cmkennedy/geog593/Links_from_10-5.pdf  (This doc has numerous links to sources of historical maps, lesson plans, NGS mapping tools, etc.








  • Actually, I think the information I learned was fantastic, yet overwhelming – only because I’d love to find a way to integrate nearly everything that we looked at.  What I found the most engaging for myself, and as a means of hooking my students, is Google Earth.  And I’ve already begun to do snippets of GE in class.  I immediately saw a use in a recent assignment that I gave to my Honors U.S. History 10/English 10 combination. 

                I have given a research intensive assignment where each student chooses a decade in American history and then must research the 12 most important historical, and 12 most important literary events, of that decade.  Then they write a paper defending the choices.  I’ve done this major project twice with this level of students and both times it seemed an excruciating task before them.  Typically I heard complains about the research limitations that I put upon them.  Namely, no web-based research until the spine of a book had been cracked, and NO GOOGLE!  I see that I can incorporate Google Earth as a means of presenting the information and still challenge them to use good research skills.  The writing done must still be quality work and ultimately I am getting them to do what I wanted in the first place: access and acquire information, use critical-thinking skills, learn significant historical events and literary information.  I believe they will be much more readily accepting of this work if they are given Google Earth as the medium in which they must present all of their findings.

                I’ll need to do preliminary research to locate good sources of information i.e. Library of Congress, Smithsonian, etc and direct them to use scholarly sites and search engines, such as NetTrekker, to conduct scholarly research.

                The culminating product would be a presentation where students are showing their Google earth tour complete with stills, short video clips and information. 

                This assignment could be done in many other ways as well.  In American Literature/English 10, I’ve assigned The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and the school district curriculum actually mandates that a map of the places and events of Douglass’ life me created – albeit in 2 dimension form.   This could easily be done in Google Earth format.

                21st century students are chomping at the bit to use technology in anyway they can.  Google Earth’s added blessing is that students will benefit from seeing the world (that they seem to know so very little about).  Student’s geographical knowledge always dismays me; I really do hope that using GE in both English and History classrooms, will swing the tide the other way.

                As for teachers, I’m hoping to get a student project completed and then present at Social Studies and Language Arts department meetings.  Should there be enough interest, and with the support that our administration has already demonstrated, I’d like to spend at least a half day in a technology training (with friend Taryn Stein in ASD IT?), showing teachers the basics.  Also, should this class be offered again I would certainly encourage more teachers to attend.  I think there are real implications for all different subject areas – Natural Sciences of Alaska?, World Languages?,  and reaching those Special Education students (boys in particular) we could actually “trick” those reluctant writers into composing well-written paragraphs! 

                As recent as this week I “flew” through New York City as we discussed the immigration and technology changes at the turn of the 20th century.  Students loved that they could see, in 3 dimension, a place that they may never themselves visit.  All the while they could make the very real connection, that this place was not somewhere abstract, in a textbook, and far away.  Lower Manhattan was staring them in the face 10 feet away!

                I’m excited to see what I can do with this new tools.  I feel I have much more to learn myself, but having seen what digital natives are capable of, I don’t think I need worry too much.


  • Technology Integration Plan

    In reading Fitzpatick’s article and attending the Geospatial Technologies class I will operate under the assumption that there is much to be learned in this field, I don’t have to know everything, and geospatial technology has the ability to engage my students in critical thinking activities that are applicable to their lives and future careers. 

    I thought the class scavenger hunt was great. I am purchasing a set of GPS units for our school that will be used in multiple activities.  Activities on my list are the downtown scavenger hunt, geo caching, and map making.  In the map making activity new students will be given immediate answers to many of their questions regarding the location of downtown resources.  My class will create a series of Google earth downtown maps that will provide directions accompanied with pictures that show the routes to local venues of interest.   For example, new students often ask about the location of the bus stop, parking garage, or the job center.  Once the maps are created I can have the kids access the school website and quickly find the links that will lead them to maps with pictures.


    In an effort to make the presidential campaign trail more exciting I will have my government class create a candidate watch.  This is a borrowed activity from Cheryl Davis and can be found at http://www.google.com/educators/6_12.html. Students are grouped in teams and each team chooses a candidate to track.  Using Google earth teams post a place marker where their candidate announced their bid for presidency and provide a link to their announcement speech.  Using Google overlay students will post a picture of their candidate under the place marker descriptions which might include the candidate’s website, advertisements, recent poll numbers, political party affiliation, etc.  Teams will save their work as a KMZ file and share with the class.  I will update the files when they are loaded and direct discussion regarding geography, political shifts, and the latest news.  Other features might include a spreadsheet on Google docs where each team grades their candidate's debate performance and posts information about their candidate to be viewed by the class.  

    Geography postcards is another idea.  A school in Oregon has invited students to join their Google earth geography post card project by asking student that browse their page to post pictures and background information about historical sights in their area.  For Alaska studies, I have thought about having students add to this project by posting historical sights around Alaska they have visited or read about.  The shared project only had one place marker for Alaska so I’m sure some data on historical sights in Alaska would be appreciated.

    My school, Avail, is unique in that most of my students work primarily on independent study work because they are working on credit remediation. They are almost all behind in their studies and each student is working on a different class so consequently I do very little direct teaching.  I am excited about the Google map activities described because I believe it will allow me to bring students working on different subjects and on various grade levels together to collaborate.   Geospatial technology can be integrated into the independent course work assigned making it more engaging and enriching for students.  The possibilities are endless.

  • I learned about a whole new world with the Geospatial Technology class.  While I was aware of Google Earth and had played with it some, this class gave me a new set of tools and ideas to use with students and with my colleagues.


    There are actually two components to my content integration plan:  developing and publishing a Google Lit Trip and sharing ideas with other ASD secondary librarians. 


    Part 1:  Google Lit Trip project.  I recently read Orphan by John Weber.  The book tells the story of Homer, a 13-year-old boy, who finds out he is adopted and sets out with his friend Jaimie to New York City to learn about his origins.  The book is set in the 1930s during the time of the Depression.  Homer was part of the orphan trains that took children from New York City and placed them with families in the Midwest.  What intrigued me as I was reading this book was the rich content for a Google Lit Trip.  Some of the initial locations/content for places on a lit trip:

    • New York City
    • Iowa
    • Train from Iowa to New York City
    • Children’s Aid Society (still active)
    • Big Stone Lake in Iowa
    • Obsolete Technology: party line telephones, blizzard lines between buildings
    • Hobos and culture of “riding the rails”
    • Farm/Agriculture life of 1930s


    Part 2:  ASD Secondary Librarians.  The secondary librarians meet once a month for professional development and curriculum discussions.  I plan to introduce these tools for librarians to consider in their instruction.  Librarians are in a unique position to collaborate with classroom teachers across a variety of disciplines and these geospatial technology tools can add a new dimension to what we do.  My plan is to prepare an introduction to Google Earth (much like we did in class) to share with the members of our group at one of our meetings next quarter.  I would also add a brainstorming session of how we could use this with students and teachers.

  • My integration plan was to create a list of interactive geography resources for students to include on my library wiki.  I plan to use these to help students studying for the Geography Bee and to show to others who enjoy geography and/or like playing computer games. 

    Several of these resources were from the Study Tools/Ideas for the GeoBee that Katie Kennedy uploaded to the Alaska Geo ning. Some were on Free Technology for Teachers blog (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/02/ten-interactive-geography-...) and a couple I found by searching the Internet.  I hope to make the page look more appealing and plan to transfer the resources to a webpage once my website is created.

    Wiki address - http://kincaidlib.wikispaces.com/Geography+Resources

    Future website - http://www.asdk12.org/staff/frankenburger_lydia/pages/Kincaid_Eleme...

    On another note – I have started a unit on Google Earth with my students in 3-6 grades. I see these students for an hour ever other week and am fortunate to have a laptop lab available for their use.  I will adapt the lessons to fit the grade levels.  For sixth grade I started by allowing them to explore a little and taught them to make a folder and placemark. Next class they are to come with three locations from their immigration projects that they will be completing soon.  We will make a path and learn to insert photos and possibly do a tour.

    Lydia Frankenburger

  • Since I teach Physical Education to elementary age students I think the best way to integrate what I learned in this class is by using the GPS units as part of an outdoor lab.  I would partner with a classroom teacher and during the PE part I would have them participate in a scavenger hunt/tour, similar to how we did in the Geospatial class.  Then I would have the students download their GPS units to a computer and then create a visual tour in Google Earth.  I would have them draw their pathway to show the course that they walked.  Also, the students will narrate their tour, like we did during our last class.  They will also be asked to embed some pictures that they find on the Internet that correspond to the Historical features from their scavenger hunt.  The teacher that I partner with can also use these tools as part of their geography and/or history lessons, especially when they study the history of Anchorage in particular. 

    I thoroughly enjoyed this class.  I was particularly interested in learning different ways to use these technologies with my classes.  I think kids, in general, know a lot about different technologies, but they don’t necessarily know how to bring history to life; to make it current in their world and understanding.  So, by using these geospatial tools they are able to make a connection in their world with the Past, which creates a deeper understanding for them.



  • ArcGIS On-line Mapping


  • My Neighborhood - Anchorage Muni On-line Mapping


  • National Atlas On-line Mapping

    - http://NationalAtlas.gov

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Toso's Content Integration Plan

     One thing I plan to use with my 4th grade class that I learned was out there from this class is the mapmaker kit on the National Geographic web site.  I would do the table top maps.  It prints out maps in sheets.  The table top maps are 8-9 pages.  I would have them work in groups of four and put a map of nine sheets together like a puzzle.  I would do the continents and oceans one.  They have several, but that is that I would use first.  I would have them trim the edges and put it…

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Geospatial Lesson Plan 3rd grade Russian Immersion Program

Geospatial Technology class was very interesting and useful for me. I learned a lot of new concepts and skills in using the geospatial tools as GIS, Google Earth and GPS. I enjoyed all our hands-on activities on practicing these tools in our projects. All the activities were very engaging. I am looking forward to continuing mustering my skills and creating lesson plans with integrating geospatial technology tools into Social Studies and Language Arts.I already started integrate the geospatial…

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I teach in the IGNITE program at O’Malley Elementary. We utilize and create thematic units for this enrichment program. When teaching a unit, we like to approach the subject from many directions in order to engage our many different types of learners. We integrate writing, math, economics, visual arts, and performing arts. We want to include technology and geography.  I took this geospatial technology class because I thought it sounded like the perfect answer. We have projected some Google…

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