Friday, January 18, 2019

Playing with Geography

Geoguessr is a web-based game that plops you into an unknown place so that you can attempt to guess where you are. The game incorporates Google Street View and allows you to "drive" around by clicking the arrows; you can also click and drag on the screen to take a "look" at the surroundings.


Students then use a map interface to zoom in on a continent and country and make a guess. The game then reveals the location and how far off you were in terms of miles.

This game can be used to work on academic language and a number of other skills:
-recognizing geographic features, continents and countries
-distance concepts and measurement
-"thinking with the eyes" (looking for clues ala Social Thinking®)
-pretending together via taking roles in "driving"
-persistence and self-talk

Many locations don't feature a ton of context so it is helpful to find a sign and perhaps use a web search to get some information about where one might be.

A participant at a workshop asked today if you can restrict yourself to say, the USA or important landmarks. No, but that gave me an idea. This game uses Google Street View which is accessible via Google Earth (via Chrome browser or the iPad app, just click on the little person icon and drag onto the map). You can certainly structure your own version of the game by placing students in Street View into a location that is more contextual or near a landmark, and instructing them that they can only use the arrows to figure out where they are!

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