Mapping the Neighbourhood

I was really intrigued by this.

It was a copy of an activity that I used to do in my Hyperstudio workshops.  From the Plant Department, I had obtained floor plans for every school in the district.  Teachers that would come to the workshop would find their school in the big folder of maps (or the storey for their classroom) and then scan it as an image.  The image would then be taken back to their workstation and loaded onto a card in a Hyperstudio stack.

That was always a fun thing to look at and wonder about since very seldom do you get an aerial view of the school.  Often it took more than a moment to locate various classrooms.  Then, in Hyperstudio, we would use any of the area grabbing tools to overlay an invisible button on the classroom.  We’d then make the button active so that when you moused over the area, it would highlight and then, if you clicked on it, information would either pop up on the screen or we’d link to another card in the stack.  There, we would include pictures of the teacher, of the classroom, sounds you might here, and a description of what a visitor to the room would find.  It was a fun activity and there were so many computer skills that were necessary to be successful.

Many a teacher would take the idea back and use it as a project for students to map out the entire school.  It’s a wonderful activity to teach about spatial relationships and often research in-school field trips were necessary to take pictures, interview other teachers and students, and of course, the principals and vice-principals since they occupied space within the school too.

From this activity, it was an easy extension to a “My Community” activity and use internet maps to do parts of the local community.

Using, contemporary tools, the Toronto Library has mapped out the local communities within the city.  The focus of the information returned is on the resources from the local libraries.

I had to check out East York since I lived there for eight months while attending the Faculty of Education at UofT.

It was a fascinating time spent browsing and the pictures from the collections were so interesting.

You can check out the entire interactive map here.  Isn’t Toronto such a rich and interesting city?

Can you do it in your classroom?  Absolutely.  If you have Hyperstudio or any other similar editing program, you’re good to go.  Looking for a web-based solution – check out Thinglink.  It’s perfect for this activity.

What’s so valuable about this sort of activity isn’t necessarily the computer part.  If you start with it, you’ll see that it’s actually pretty easy in the technology department although there are a whack of skills needed to pull together the best presentation.  The value comes when students have to do the research, gather or create the images, generate the sounds, make the movies…

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