Scribble Maps: Interactive Maps in the Classroom

Have you ever wanted to draw a spot on a map without permanently marking it? To be able to point out a specific place, or route, without ruining an expensive map that you’ll want to use for something different in the future? Well then Scribble Maps is the tool for you! This awesome tool allows you to not only draw on and annotate maps, but also save, print and download your maps onto your computer. These maps can even be embedded onto class websites or wikis.

I first came across Scribble Maps on Richard Byrne’s blog Free Technology For Teachers. In his blog post Scribble Maps – Easily Type and Draw on Google Maps, he provides a variety of uses of Scribble Maps in the classroom stating this tool “could be a good resource for teachers of geography, history or current events.” It could also be used in literature, mapping, or many other fun and creative ways.

Scribble Maps is free and user-friendly, providing a tool that students will use with ease. It is possible to create a map without even creating an account; however, there are more features in the tool box if you create an account (and it’s still free!) Let’s create a map! Once on Scribble Maps, in order to create your first map you press the button Create Map in the top left hand corner. It will bring you to a screen that looks like thisCreate a Map First ScreenThe tool box in the middle gives links to video tutorials, recent maps and other helpful aspects of the website that you can explore which will help you become more familiar with it. After closing that toolbar, you can type the location into the search bar on the top. Scribble Maps is run using Google Maps, which creates an advantage for many students who will be familiar with the layout and already know how to find a location or look up directions.

After finding a specified location, students can add markers, lines, shapes, or even import photos onto their map. Using the top tool bar, it is easy to find and place things on the map, playing with different colors, shapes or objects. Adding markers is very simple. Richard Byrne suggests students could use this to show important historical sites, create a timeline of western expansion, or even places that are important to them or important to their town. On the map below, markers illustrate important places in my day. Titles and descriptions also shows up in the right hand side of the page, making it easier to view and locate your markers.

Markers used to show places I goAnother feature of Scribble Maps is the ability to draw lines: straight, scribbled or connected. After placing the markers, I connected them with lines showing where I go throughout my day. Again, these lines show up in the right hand column. You can drag them to rearrange the order on the column and when you place your mouse over them, it highlights the line or marker on the map for easier viewing. A third tool you can use is text boxes. This will come in handy in the classroom because students will not only point out places, but also describe the importance of them or what they are trying to get across in their map.Satelite Map of Schedule

Maps can be created using different views such as terrain, hybrid, satellite or regular maps, providing many uses in the classroom. The example on the left is a satellite map, giving students a much better idea of what the place looks like. The map below is a regular map.Regular Map of Schedule

It is also very easy to save your map, whether it is with or without an account. When you hit the menu button in the top right tool box, it gives you the option to save. It will ask you for an original Map ID and title of your map. It will then provide you with a hyperlink directly to the map and a hyperlink that will allow you to easily share your map. My map’s directory link will show you the map on the right through the Scribble Map website and my map’s direct link will allow you to interact with the map.

How to Locate Your Map LaterAfter saving your map you can share, email, embed, or print it. Maps can be embedded on websites such as PBworks, but some websites (like WordPress) do not allow embedding that uses javascript (which Scribble Maps does). You can even start working on another map! This is an easy way for students to create their own work and visually understand what they are learning. They can also view the maps other people created under recent maps.

Don’t you want to avoid big bulky, pull-down maps that don’t even stay down half the time? This awesome tool is perfect for the classroom and can be used in so many different ways to help students learn and have fun. Here are a few links to other great ideas on how to incorporate Scribble Maps in the classroom and how Scribble Maps is affecting classrooms:

What role will maps play in your classroom? Do you think Scribble Maps would be effective and engaging for learners? Feel free to share what you think about this tool and how you might use it in the future!

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10 Responses to Scribble Maps: Interactive Maps in the Classroom

  1. Allie W. says:

    This is such a cool tool! This can be used in so many ways in a classroom of any ages. Anytime you need to show directions to somewhere, show where someplace is in geography, display where an event has occurred, or even show where a type of animal, plant, etc may live, etc. This is also a great interactive way for students. An idea for using this would be for students to come up and show where certain states are when they are learning their 50 states. This great visual tool has endless uses!

  2. Kyle W. says:

    This is great!! Last semester I was working with a teacher at Cummings who was teaching a unit on To Kill a Mockingbird. She had this great idea to have students look up maps of their neighborhoods on Google Maps and then print them out; they would then go back and highlight, circle, and draw lines to places that were important to them. This was to help make connections between the sense of community in the novel and the idea of a modern community. I loved the project, and I showed her how she could take a screen shot of her Google Map, import it into Paint, and then have students annotate from there–I thought it was genius…Now, I really want to show her this website because it would make her project SO much cooler and more effective (and easy to use!). I think a tool like this could be really useful because it allows students to make connections to places they’ve never been before.

  3. Sydney B. says:

    This tool is very cool! It can be used in the classroom in many ways. Students learning how to read a map can really benefit from this tool. Because you can edit the map yourself, students can be tested with this tool. If students need to show that they can read a map, teachers could give students a task using the map. That way, they are evaluated but it is not the typical pencil and paper test. I had a lot of fun with this tool just playing around. Also, this tool can be a fun way for students to learn about other countries or even states!

  4. Hannah D.H says:

    Great post Kate! This is a really cool tool that can definitely be used in the classroom in tons of different ways! I agree with Sydney when she says students could be tested with scribble maps and it wouldnt be just a boring pencil and paper test. I think that’s a great idea! I like how you can make a map that tracks where you go throughout your day by placing the points and having it draw the lines. That could be a really cool activity for students to do! I feel that this is a great tool and easy to use and I can definitely see myself using it in the classroom. Thanks for sharing Kate!

  5. Rebecca S. says:

    I really like this tool! It seems that more and more teachers are using maps in their classrooms, but I never knew it was possible to “draw” on them. This gives teachers (and students) the freedom to label specific locations, draw arrows to important areas, etc. without being permanent. Of course, teachers can save certain maps for future use, but if they just want to bring attention to certain areas they can draw on a map without any commitment to keeping it that way. I think this tool is a great way to get students involved in map usage. It is easy for maps to lose appeal when students are simply asked to find certain things on them. With Scribble Maps, they can draw on them, which will make using the maps more fun for them!

  6. Anna H. says:

    Great post and tool, Kate! I think this is a great tool to bring into the classroom, and one that is so versatile — it truly seems like it would work for so many subjects! I would love to use this for social studies or language arts, tracking historical events or a journey taking place over time in a book. You could even use it in science to locate important natural landmarks! I also love that this is a great alternative to the classic pull-down map. While that is a great way to show kids an overall image, there’s not much you can do with it. With Scribble Maps, there’s so much more interaction, and I feel like it will help the students better understand the material.

  7. Sarah C says:

    This tool is so relevant to so many aspects of teaching, but it’s something that I had never heard of before your post. Interactive maps like this can apply to almost any subject area, whether it’s learning about the culture of another country or gaining more insight into a piece of literature by looking at the area in which the book is set. I think it’s great that technology like this exists and can be so easily used in the classroom.

  8. Madison L says:

    Kate,
    I think that using this tool in the classroom is an excellent idea! I would use this tool in my classroom in order to show important events that took place in history such as the Atlantic Slave Trade. With this tool, students would be able to pin-point exactly where historical events took place and draw symbols and type facts about those specific places. Also, if one were to give a geography quiz, then the students would be able to take the test using this tool and they would be more active in their learning. Not to mention the fact that the maps are incredibly detailed which is extraordinary and students will be able to remember concepts and places better partly due to this.

  9. Hollyz says:

    Kate,
    I really liked this post! We used maps in the classroom all the time, and I think this would have been a cool tool to see. I love how you can save locations, and mark places without ruining a nice map. The ideas you provided for its use were really great. When studying a place or reading a book about a location you could use the map to place them. I like the symbols you can use and that you can include facts about locations. Students would be able to visually see where they’re studying and then keep their maps and see everywhere they’ve learned about over the whole year. This idea is really great Kate, awesome job!

  10. Erin M. says:

    Kate,
    I think this is a great classroom tool and I have actually seen it used in a fourth grade class at Grove Park elementary right in Burlington! I think the best part about Scribble Maps is that, as you said, it is not a single subject lesson. It can integrate many subject areas that students can learn from including geography, history, language arts, science, and even math.
    I used to hate geography class because the only sources we looked to reference different things were big bulky maps or the standard globe. Neither of these truly helped me contemplate the idea of relative location and etc. Therefore, in using tools like these I think giving the student the opportunity to explore the world and zoom in and out of certain things would be extremely beneficial. Nice job on your post, the screen shots make using the tool seem very simple and useful!

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