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(For more resources on Moodle 2.0, see here.)
Whenever you think of a map, you may either think of the traditional planisphere or the terrestrial globe. There are several types of maps apart from those previously mentioned. We can work with maps of the moon, Mars, constellations, and even the universe! Thus, we are not only going to focus on our planet, but we are going to travel even further!
The topic of this article is going to deal with Traveling Around the World and Watching the Universe. After reading this article, you can focus on your next holiday!
We explain how to work with different types of maps. We are going to be as creative as possible. We should try to work with maps in an unconventional way. That is to say, the idea is to use a map for a Geography class, but we can use maps as a resource for any type of activity. Thus, we can work with the Geography teacher and he/she could work on another geographical feature of the place that we are working with. Therefore, in that way, we are adding more information to the place we are exploring.
Maps are very attractive and they may become quite appealing to our students as long as we find a way to develop a rich activity using them. We should encourage the use of maps and the available resources that we have on the Web so that they can insert them in their homework by themselves as well. Thus, we can develop the activities in such a way that we can either provide the map or ask them to design a map.
We can also work with maps in the case of Literature. We can ask students to draw a map of a place that has never existed in the real world, though it did in a story. Thus, another bit of homework that could prove helpful would be for students to design and carry out the map of such a place using the tools that we are going to explore in the following recipes. An example of this could be to draw the map of the country Ruritania and locate the cities of Zenda and Strealsau. These places do not exist in the real world, but they exist in the book The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope. So, many things can be done with maps.
Creating maps with sceneries
In this activity, we are going to create a map with sceneries. Therefore, we could either browse our files for pictures from our trips or holidays, or we can search for sceneries on the Web. After selecting the pictures, we create a new folder in Windows Explorer, for example C:Images_Traveling. In this folder, we save all the pictures so as to organize our work.
We will use the following well-known website: http://earth.google.com/ to design a map using the pictures we have saved in the folder that we have just created. Let’s get ready!
In this activity, we will work with the previously mentioned website. Therefore, we need to open the web browser and enter it. Click on Download Google Earth 6. Read the Google Maps/Earth Terms of Service and if you agree, click on Agree and Download. The icon of Google Earth will appear on your desktop, as shown in the following screenshot:
How to do it…
We have already carried out the first steps for this activity. Now, we have to design the maps with the pictures that we want to add. There are also some pictures that are available in the maps; you can also work with them, though the aim of this activity is to upload images in the map. Follow these steps in order to create a folder and find images for the activity:
- Click on the icon on your desktop and open Google Earth.
- Bring the Earth closer with the icons on the right. Locate a remote city in the southern hemisphere, as shown in the following screenshot:
- In the Fly to block, write “Mar del Plata”, or any other remote city. Then press Enter or click on the magnifying glass next to the block.
- You will travel virtually to the desired city. Bring the map forward and locate the place where the picture to be uploaded was taken.
- Click on Add | Photo.
- Complete the Name block.
- Click on Browse. Search for the picture that you want to upload and click on it.
- Complete the other blocks: Description | View | Photo.
- Click on OK.
- The picture will appear, as shown in the following screenshot:
- You can repeat the same process as many times as the number of pictures you want to upload.
- After uploading all the pictures, click on File | Save | Save Image, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Complete the File name block and click on Save.
How it works…
After uploading the desired pictures to the map, we can create an activity. We could start this course with a little social interaction. We ask our students to think about what element they shouldn’t forget if they happen to go to this place. They may not know this city, for sure, unless they live nearby. This is the most interesting part of inserting a remote city that they may want to know more about it! Therefore, a Chat is a good idea to have where all the students will be invited in order to discuss the city.
We upload the map that we have created with the images to our activity within the Moodle course. Choose the weekly outline section where you want to insert this activity and follow these steps:
- Click on Add an activity | Chat.
- Complete the Name of this chat room and Introduction text blocks.
- Click on the Insert/edit image icon | Find or upload an image | Browse and look for the image that we have just saved.
- Click on Upload this file.
- Complete the Image description block and click on Insert.
- Click on Save and return to course. The activity looks as shown in the following screenshot:
Drawing regions within a map
In this activity, we are going to use an interactive website in which we choose a map to work with. It is a very simple one, but we could enhance it by adding interesting ingredients to the recipe. We will use a software for drawing a region on the map, and highlight a region for our students to work with. As it was pointed out before, we are not going to focus on geographical features, though you can add this ingredient yourself when designing the activity.
We open our default web browser and work with the following website: http://www.fusioncharts.com/maps/Default.asp. We click on Map Gallery and choose a map to work with. In this case, we choose a map of the world and highlight five regions, one for each continent. You can modify it and work with different regions within a continent or a country too.
How to do it…
We look for the desired map. We can find different types of maps to work with. Everything depends on what type of activity we have in mind. In this case, as the topic of this article has to do with traveling, we circle five regions and ask our students to choose where they would like to go. First of all, we have to find the map and save it as an image so that we can draw the regions and upload it to our Moodle course. Therefore, follow these steps:
- Click on click here | World Map with countries on the aforementioned site.
- Another pop-up window appears, displaying a map of the world with the countries. There appears a Map Configuration block where you can customize some features, as shown in the next screenshot.
- Click on Save Map as Image, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Another pop-up window will appear. Click on Save.
- Complete the File name block.
- Click on Save.
- Click on Open.
- A pop-up window displaying the map will appear. Click on File | Copy.
- Paste the map in Paint or Inkscape. Click on Edit | Paste from and browse for the name of the file.
- Select the file and click on Open.
- Use the resources available to draw the regions that you want students to work with, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Click on File | Save as and write a name for the file.
- Click on Save.
How it works…
We have already drawn the regions that we want our students to work with. We have chosen one country from every continent; you can choose another or design it in a different way. We can add a writing activity in which students choose where they would like to travel using the previous map.
Select the weekly outline section where you want to add the activity and follow these steps:
- Click on Add an activity | Upload a single file within Assignments.
- Complete the Assignment name and Description blocks.
- Click on the Insert/edit image icon | Find or upload an image | Browse.
- When you find the image that you want to upload, click on Open | Upload this file.
- Complete the Image description block.
- Click on Insert.
- Click on Save and return to course. The activity is ready!
- When students click on the activity, it looks as shown in the following screenshot:
Labeling a map with pins
In this recipe, we will learn how to insert a map in our Moodle course labeled with pins, because we pin all the cities that we are going to work with. Therefore, we insert the map as a resource. After that, we design activities for our students to use the interactive map that we have just added. It is another way to use a resource, making our Moodle course more appealing to the eyes of our students.
We are going to work with Google Earth, as we did in the first recipe, so we have already installed it. We should think of the cities to insert in our course because we need to pin them all!
How to do it…
Click on the Google Earth icon that you have on your desktop. This is a way to enrich our traveling course by enhancing its appearance. So, these are the steps that you have to follow:
- Complete the Fly to block with the place that you want to pin.
- Click on the yellow pin, as shown in the following screenshot:
- A pop-up window will appear. Complete the Name block by writing the name of the city.
- Check the Latitude and Longitude, so that you place the pin correctly.
- You may complete the Description block.
- You can change the appearance of the pin by clicking on the pin itself. Another pop-up window will appear showing different sorts of icons, as shown in the following screenshot:
- You can choose the desired icon by clicking on it | OK. The icon that you have selected will appear in the map.
- Pin as many cities as you are going to work with and repeat steps 1-7.
- After pinning all the cities, save the file. Click on File | Save | Save Place as.
- Complete the File name block (remember to save the file in the folder which was created for this course) | Save.
- You have already saved the pinned map.
How it works…
We have to insert the map in our Moodle course. In this case, we are going to Add a resource, because we are introducing all the activities that are to come. So, choose the weekly outline section where you want to save the resource. These are the steps that you have to follow:
- Click on Add a resource | File.
- Complete the Name and Description blocks.
- Click on Add | Browse.
- Click on the file that you are going to upload | Open | Upload this file | Save and return to course.
Although we have added a file, students can work with the map interactively!
We can embed the map in an HTML block in our Moodle course. Click on the downwards arrow next to Add… in Add a block, as shown in the following screenshot:
Choose HTML and a new block will appear in our Moodle course.
Embedding a map in an HTML block
Open Google Earth and follow these steps in order to embed the map in the block that we have already added:
- Click on the View in Google Maps icon, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Another window appears. Click on Link | Customize and preview embedded map, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Click on Custom and adjust the Width and Height.
- In the Preview section, click on the minus sign and adjust the map to fit the window.
- Copy the HTML code to embed in our Moodle course.
- Go back to the Moodle course and click on the configuration icon to embed the map.
- Complete the Block title.
- In the Content block, click on the HTML icon, paste the HTML code which was copied, and click on Update.
- Click on Save changes. The map will look as shown in the following screenshot: