Saturday, 11 October 2008

Exploring Japanese with google maps

I am actually typing this as I experiment with google maps.

The subject is Japanese, the topic is "travelling in Japan" & the idea is to create a map in google maps with placemarks that describe various tourist locations in a city (in this case Kyoto). I have created my first placemark at Kinkakuji (The temple of the Golden Pavilion). The description is in Japanese, using vocabulary and kanji characters from the unit.

So, now I've had the idea (since my description says I took a photo there) of adding a photo to google maps. After a bit of searching and confusion (much confusion), I discovered via a google video on youtube that it's really quite simple to add a photo. In your map, click on a placemark...

1. After clicking on the placemark to edit it - choose "Rich text"
2. Click on the image icon and, in the pop-out, insert the URL link to a photo (I linked to one of my flickr photos)

So I now have a google map that describes 3 tourist locations, with explanations in Japanese, and a photo attached.

Why have I done this? What use could it have? Why didn't I simply create a reading comprehension & stick some pictures in?

Well ...

  • The students all visited the locations in Kyoto on a school trip last December so they are relevant to them
  • I will create comprehension questions for the students to answer - a simple activity (but important in gauging their understanding of the unit vocab and kanji)
  • I will embed or link to the map in our class ning so that the students can access the map from anywhere at anytime and comment on the whole process. Easy access.
  • I will invite the class as collaborators (allowing them to edit the map) and have them add to the map. Each student will be given 2 locations that they have visited and will be required to write a written piece in each placemark describing the location and what you can do there.
  • Students will then (via the ning forum) comment on each others creations and suggest grammar and vocabulary that they could have used
All in all, the aim is to engage the students with "real" Japanese. Have them create written pieces that are useful, relevant & easily expanded upon later on if they choose - as further revision, extension work or simply to use the language somewhere that it can be seen and recognized; not simply written in an exercise or workbook, marked and forgotten.

The google video that put it all succinctly for me is below:

1 comment:

lindseybp said...

Thanks for sharing your 'how-to' using google maps as well as suggested classroom uses. I'll be sharing this post with others. Nice job!