In his blog, Free Technology for Teachers, Richard Byrne’s discusses new tools he finds that can be applied in the classroom for educators. In the post, MyReadingMapped – Interactive Maps of Historical Events and Patterns he discusses how to use this tool to teach and learn using interactive maps. Rather than reading about important historical battles and events from a textbook, MyReadingMapped explains these events through interactive maps. These maps are created in the hopes of inspiring students to learn and explore in different ways. With the help of Google Maps and Google Earth, these maps are able to be created with immense detail and be viewed in many different ways.

It may be a little bit overwhelming at first, but do not worry, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube on exactly how to use the maps.

According to the site’s creator, George Stiller, MyReadingMapped, “is an extensive compendium of documentaries in the form of interactive Google Maps on Historic Events.” MyReadingMapped contains over 100 maps discussing historical events ranging from the travel of Alexander the Great to the battles of World War II, one of my personal favorites is the map that shows the world’s best zoos. Each location on the map is accompanied by an excerpt combined with details and anecdotes about the specific topic, in addition to a page reference or web link directing you to the source. The Explorer Maps come with a Google Earth KML file that allows viewers to digitally walk from location to location on a 3D map. Other KML files will allow you to walk around ancient ruins in 3D or see the inspiration of a landscape painting and the actual painting at the same time. However, a common viewing of a map would appear as it looks below.

These maps are not only great tools for educating students, but they are also a good tool to reinforce and further explain historical details. MyReadingMapped has a high MozTrust rating because it links to respected and trustworthy sites such as, the Smithsonian libraries, Harvard University, and the National Parks Service. MyReadingMapped gives the students a general background of topics in history, it is a good base point. Other excerpts come from eBooks, which are indicated by a book symbol. Either for gathering general knowledge, looking for more resources, or studying for a test, this is a useful tool for students to succeed.

As future teachers, we should all constantly be on the lookout for new ways to inspire and encourage our students to learn differently. MyReadingMapped is an incredibly different and innovative way to learn  history from all eras. As a future history teacher, I am extremely excited to have come across this tool. It is versatile because it can be used for all subjects of history throughout time. One reason I really like this tool, is because I see myself using it as teacher and as a student.

Dowell Middle School embedded map

Dowell Middle School embedded map of American Revolution which resulted in 850 views from students

George Stiller created MyReadingMapped “to assist students with metacognition, the ability to learn, by providing educators with stimulating tools that enable students of all ages to internalize the procedures, organization, and structures necessary to learn by example.” After only two and a half years of use, many teachers have used this tool in the classroom. He even provides a list of teachers that use MyReadingMapped. Educators all across America have embedded these maps into their own personal websites at school, thus making them known and available to students everywhere. One school, Dowel Middle School, embedded a map of the American Revolution, giving the students direct access to the map. This resulted in 850 views from students because it was so simple to view and use. The maps you see throughout my post are also embedded, meaning they are interactive and fully functional.

The best way to learn about MyReadingMapped would be through going to the website and using the maps. The options for maps ranges from ancient explorers to current topics like the U.S. government shutdown. The topics of maps vary widely, ranging from science, like climate change to social studies. Use the map embedded below to get an idea of how MyReadingMapped works. This map displays the Rise, Fall and Migration of Civilization due to Climate Change. You can use the mouse to move the map around, click on the different locations to read more about the climate changes, and see the trends around the world.

Because MyReadingMapped is getting more and more coverage and publicity as time goes on, it will hopefully become a frequently used classroom tool. I see myself using it in class as a way to teach my students, as well as encouraging them to use it in reviewing material, or exploring more on their own. As of my most recent visit, MyReadingMapped had 171,673 views!

Have you ever used a tool like this in class? Do you think it would benefit students who don’t necessarily enjoy reading from textbooks? Let me know what you think of this tool!

  • Google Earth Blog– blog about cool and interesting things being done with Google Maps, including MyReadingMapped, this one in particular talks about the MyReadingMapped about the Trayvon Martin case
  • Carol LaRow: Educational Technology Consultant– provides a lesson for teachers on how to use MyReadingMapped in the classroom
  • History Tech– a blog by Glenn Wiebe, another consultant, and former history teacher who offers tips and advice for current teachers using technology concerning MyReadingMapped
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19 Responses to MyReadingMapped

  1. Chelsea R. says:

    This would be a great tool to use when it comes to social studies/history and Spanish! I think this would have really helped me understand locations of battles a bit more when I was in grade school. I also believe that it’s true that we need to keep looking out for new innovative ways to teach our future children.

  2. Sara R. says:

    Steph, I agree that this seemed a little overwhelming at first, but I do agree that it is definitely a useful tool for the classroom. As a visual person, I know that not only hearing the names of the places where events happened but also physically seeing them would have made the information that much more meaningful to me. Also, I believe that if maps were used more in my education, that I would be more geographically aware. Incorporating a map into the content of the lesson with such ease makes it so that students do not miss out on that part of their education. Therefore, I definitely plan on incorporating this tool into my future lesson plans.

    • Tabitha C. says:

      I completely agree with you Sara! I feel like there was not nearly enough emphasis on maps in my early education and I am, in a way, sort of uneducated when it comes to geography. Cool tools such as this definitely could have helped me out!

  3. Laura H. says:

    Maps can be so daunting to students, so this tool seems great to get kids excited about learning about historical maps through a technology! If I was a student, I would have totally played with these tool even when I didn’t have an assignment to do so. Great post Steph!

  4. Maria H. says:

    Steph, this post is really impressive. I would have never known about this fantastic tool if not for this post. I can 100% see myself teaching culture and ancient Spanish civilizations to my students and using a map of the Aztec or Incan Empires. I love all of the different facets that MyReadingMapped can apply to. This is really great, Steph!

  5. Sydney R. says:

    I totally could have benefited from this tool when I was learning about different wars and civilizations and such in history in high school! Having that visual to go along with what the students are learning will definitely help them understand the material. I agree with what everyone has been saying about not being introduced to maps that much throughout school, but this tool could definitely put an end to that. Great post!

  6. Winna P. says:

    Just as everyone else has mentioned, this resource would have been great when I was in elementary school. Geography is not my best subject and I think this resource will be able to truly help my students learn general and detailed geography. I hope to incorporate this resource when teaching social studies in the future. Thanks for such a well written and informative post!

  7. Mary F. says:

    I absolutely love this tool! Like you, I found the worlds best zoo part to be one of my favorites. What a great way to get students more interested in history and geography. You can actually show the kids about the places you’re talking about, which might help them understand more. I think maps should be integrated more at younger ages so that geography is better understood/already known at older ages and this is a great way to do so. Thanks for showing us all this Steph!

  8. Katie H. says:

    Great post Steph! I am in love with this tool! Geography is one of those subjects that is grazed over, memorize the states and then you’re done. Most people struggle because they cannot visualize the locations on a map, which this tool does for you! Using this tool early on in education will help younger students remain engaged when doing geography because they will be able to see where they are talking about, not just thinking about it. I can totally see myself using this tool in my future classroom during almost any subject to point out where different events happened, where things are located or even finding somewhere for a field trip. Thanks for sharing this awesome tool!

  9. Chelsea S. says:

    Great post, Steph! While I’m not going to be a history teacher, I still think this is important for teachers to know. Like comments above, I don’t think that Geography was emphasized in elementary school. I was just talking to my friend a few years ago and she thought the bahamas were near Europe! I think this is an awesome tool to teach students where things are and where explorers went.

  10. As the creator of MyReadingMapped, I love to read responses like those above. But, in order for this tool to be effective, it has to be used by students. The Dowell Middle School is a perfect example of a school that had a high participation rate by students because the school embedded the map in it’s school web site. That means, you as a teacher need to invest time on the site to determine which maps make an effective learning process for you.

    These maps not only record places and events, they capture success and failure, and the ability to overcome adversity. They include weird topics like Google Map Anomalies, sunken ships and train and plane crash sites in order to capture student interest in learning. What makes MyReadingMapped effective is not the facts and places plotted, its the ability to turn inquisitiveness into learning to learn by example. If the student does not learn to learn, and express their inquisitiveness, learning all those facts are useless in making them effective communicators. And, a student who can’t communicate well is a failure. As an Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving (INTP) child I was a failure of the school system because it failed to teach me to learn to follow my own inquisitiveness rather than their structure. Once I retired as a successful marketing communications manager, I was determined to find a way to solve that problem. MyReadingMapped is my solution. A career in marketing communications reflects my being an INTP creative person. It is what I was naturally determined to be despite my failure in school.

    So, all this is where you come in. I made MyReadingMapped, but it will take you to make it successful in reaching kids.

    • B. Taylor says:

      George, Thanks for your contribution to our learning community. In her original post, Steph mentioned Dowel Middle School and even included a screenshot of how they “embedded a map of the American Revolution, giving the students direct access to the map. This resulted in 850 views from students because it was so simple to view and use.” Steph also demonstrated how easy it is to embed maps in a website – she embedded two of yours in her blog post. We as future teachers (and I as teacher educator) will hopefully be able to make good use of your tool in the future.

  11. Angie E. says:

    Great job Steph! I’ll echo everyone else in saying that this is a great tool for increasing students’ geographic and historical awareness, as well as showing the importance of location in some major historical events. I found it very interesting that there are also maps of the Government Shutdown and seemingly random topics like shipwrecks to reach as many students as possible. I can’t wait to use these in the classroom!
    PS Congrats on getting the creator of your tool to comment!! You win!

    • Those seemingly random maps were developed for two reasons. 1) my audience is both students and the general public. But my analytics can only prove 13% of the over 10,000 servers are educational institution servers. I can’t separate students from the general public. 2) Its this weird stuff that gets kids to try out the site. Things like Google Anomalies, Interesting things found in Google Map, Sunken Ship Sites, Plane Wrecks Found in Google Map, 5 Dangerous Places You should Only Visit in Google Earth, Are There Any Sunken Ships You Can See Underwater in Google Map, and my latest a Guide to the Ancient Alien Ruins found in Google Map. These will be one method you teachers can use to get kids interested. I even have a video game I created in Google Map called Prag’s Google Street Road Rally where they can drive the streets of 5 major cities from point A to point B and have to figure out how to get to there without instructions. I know you don’t want video games on my site. But this game makes them have to use their own resources to figure out how to get from point A to point B. Its not a closed course like all the other video games. Mine are normal roads with traffic. But only Google Street scanned roads. Surprisingly the road rally has been played over 1,000 times and has a small but loyal audience.

  12. Alexia M. says:

    Steph, this is a great post about a great tool! I have never used MyReadingMapped, but as a future teacher, I can definitely see how it would be useful with my students. This tool would probably work better for upper elementary to high school, but maybe you know of some ways it would work for lower elementary grades. I wish that we would have used this in my history classes, because it makes the history much more interactive and interesting.

    • Great question about addressing elementary kids.

      Try the Best Zoo map that Steph likes, the Best Botanical Gardens, the Biggest Sports Stadiums, the Longest Suspension Bridges, and Natures Wonders and Other Natural Phenomena. The build up to more serious topics like Ancient Lost Cities, the Oldest Continuously Inhabited Cites, Whale Stranding Sites, and the Oregon, Moron and California Trail.

  13. Victoria B. says:

    Steph, this seems like a very interesting tool! I wish that my middle and high school social studies teachers had utilized this tool in class. I am very directionally and geographically challenged so this would have been very helpful for me. While I think this tool is great, I’m not sure it would be as helpful for elementary students as it is for upper grades. I could possibly see myself using it to show students where the different states are located in relation to North Carolina. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Robin G. says:

    Cool post, Steph! One of the reasons why I have always hated history and learning about it in school is because my teachers would teach it in such a one-dimensional way. We would always learn from a textbook or through lectures. This, obviously, is not a stimulating learning environment. Last January, when I went on the Teaching Fellows history study tour, I learned how to appreciate learning about history because it was a new learning approach that was interactive and interesting. MyReadingMapped seems like a cool tool that could bring the same type of interactive learning that I experienced on the history study tour, to the classroom! I can’t wait to become more experienced with this tool! Thanks for the post!

  15. Anna B. says:

    Hey Steph! I really like this tool! It is something that is very unique and brings history or current events to life. For visual students who don’t like reading from a textbook or listening to a teacher lecture, this tool is a great way to spice up a lesson. Also, by using this tool, students are not only learning about the topic of the map they are currently on, but they are simultaneously learning how to use and find their way around maps! I think it is great that there are maps for non-history related topics, such as the Zoos or Climate Change! Thanks for sharing!

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