There is really no better way to engage students of all ages, than with information and communication technology (ICT). Students just love the hands on elements that ICTs provide and listed below are five super easy ways to integrate ICTs into your geography lessons.
1. Google Earth - Equipment needed: computers/ipads and Google Earth software (free to download)
Whole Class: I love starting a lesson with the spinning globe.. just sitting there, spinning with no explanation of what we are doing that day. Let the students get all excited and hooked in early on! It's always fun to zoom in on your school's address and hear the kids go 'wow!' as they see their school. Google Earth also provides the perfect opportunity to discussion birds eye view verses street view by using the little figure to jump on to the road outside your school building.
Independent or pairs: Find your address and draw a birds eye view of your house.
2. Bee-Bots - Equipment needed: Bee-Bot robots and hand built floor map or tiles
Whole Class or Pairs: These are great for K-2 years and a perfect way to solidify their knowledge about direction and positional language. Draw a map on tiles or on a large canvas (I've seen classes where the teacher has just turned over an old Twister mat and drawn a map on there with the students). Keep the lines nice and wide when drawing roads as the Bee-Bot will need to move along them. Now students must program their Bee-Bot to follow directions to a set location. Great for exploring birds eye view, map directions and digital technologies.
3. History Pin - Equipment needed: Visit the History Pin website and computers/ipads
History Pin isn't just for discussing history but it can specifically address the Year 1 HASS curriculum set by ACARA for 'how places change'. Visit locations to see photographs of places as they change over time. Students love exploring this website and you can even add to your own school location by taking some photographs of your place!
4. Draw on Map App - Equipment needed: Draw on Map app (paid version if possible) and iPads
There are a few mapping apps around but I really like this one because students can draw directly on the map. This makes it perfect for young students who can demonstrate their understanding of direction by using their finger to record a path to a location. You can also switch between satellite maps and street maps, so you can zoom in on your school or even your student's own house to make it even more personal! The free version of the app is great but if you go for the paid version you'll get more features such as pasting images of buildings and arrows.
In pairs: Draw a path from your house to your partner's house. Take a screen shot and save or share with the rest of the class through mirroring to your SmartBoard/laptop.
5. Interactive QR codes - Equipment needed: iPads and any of TechTeacherPto3s Geography packs
Independently or in pairs: students scan the QR code and examine the photograph of the place being discussed. Examine the photograph, what features can they see? Where is this place? What is this place used for? Images are stored in Google Drive but are set up so you do not need a Google Drive account. This is a great activity for students to undertake with iPads and encourages hands on engagement with geographic terms and images. You can find Geography packs for Foundation, Year 1 and Year 2 all with QR codes by clicking here.