I love maps! Planning a trip is half the fun of traveling–looking at alternative routes, seeing how different towns, rivers, lakes, and mountains are situated along the possible routes, and checking out the historical events that occurred keeps me occupied for hours. A GPS is a fine back-up tool, but not nearly as interesting as a map I can bury my nose in.
When I was teaching social studies I always included making maps in any unit. Some readers may remember the Maine studies book (it was red I think and had a black plastic binding) that went along with the Maine Department of Transportation maps–I really am waxing nostalgic here because I’m talking 30 years ago! My students would be spread out all over the floor with their DOT maps and filling in their blank ditto maps. We learned about Maine together because I was from away.
Needless to say I was excited when I came across this site with digital map making tools: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/12/03/the-best-map-making-sites-on-the-web/
Larry Ferlazzo is a blogger specializing in great educational sites on the web. His blog is called Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/
The map making site lists a variety of sites, some where you have to register and others that do not require registration. These sites are definitely worth checking out in that they allow students to add personal, historical, and other information to online maps. Map making in the digital world! Students are so lucky today to have these sites and Google Earth–they really can get a sense of place and location anywhere in the world! I still have my DOT map, but I love traveling the world via the web. Geography is just so cool!