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February App Ed Review Roundup – Cool Map Websites

by Kelly Walsh on February 7, 2017



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Fun Learning With Map Apps!

Cartography is an old word that refers to the creation and study of maps. Given that maps have gone digital (like almost everything else), we wanted to give you a cartography update in this edition of the Roundup! Specifically, we wanted to show you diverse maps for teaching about climate change, plate tectonics, and ancient civilizations. Plus, once your students start to get a handle on the different places they can access with these maps, they can use the Tour Builder website to create an interactive presentation of the different places they found on the maps and researched!

As a reminder, each piece of edtech shared in this Roundup includes a link to App Ed Review, our database of app and website reviews. Each review we post includes an original description of an app or website, 3-5 ideas for using it in your classroom, and a comprehensive rating. Plus, our easy-to-use search tool will help you find just the technology you’re looking for! With that said, enjoy this month’s Roundup and never hesitate to reach out to us with questions or comments at!

  1. Learning about plate tectonics is a hallmark of middle school science, and one of the best resources we found for it is the Plate Tectonics Map. No flashy name here, but this website does what it claims; it functions as a comprehensive resource for studying plate tectonics. With its interactive maps, timeline that shows the continents’ movement over time, and examples of forces that are strong enough to move continents, this website will definitely be a go-to resource for your classroom. A final feature we really like about this website is that it provides detailed information about plate tectonics that teachers can refer students when completing a project! As a result, this website scored high for its instructional implications based on our rubric. To learn more about this website and ways to use it in your classroom, click here!
  1. Climate Hot Map shows environmental impacts of pollution around the globe. The interactive map is produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists and demonstrates all the different places global warming impacts. With different layers covering global warming’s effects on people, fresh water, oceans, ecosystems, and temperature, students can sort through the different impacts and tour the world, reading mini articles linked to locations on how global warming is affecting that region. Solutions and links for those who would like to take action are available with each article blurb. Students can also browse the “See Impacts” and “Find Solutions” tabs to find information on climate change’s impacts on the globe and information on how different areas are responding to climate change. Scoring a 9.3 in Design and an 8 overall on our comprehensive rubric, Climate Hot Map has a ton of classroom applications. Check out the full review here.
  1. Tour Builder helps users create a navigable global map with location pins that explain or tell a story. Running on a Google Earth platform complete with the ability to upload images, videos, and text, Tour Builder offers users a template for creating interactive tours. Users pick each location and its order on the tour, zooming or moving the point of view to street view. Then, users add the multimedia content they desire. After adding the information for each stop, users can click “Add Location” to add a new stop on their global tour. When complete, users can click “Done Editing” and save their tour. A share feature allows users to share their tours via link or email, and the website also has a Gallery button with public tours created by other users. Scoring a 9.8 in Design, a 9 in Engagement, and a high 8.6 overall, Tour Builder is a great digital storytelling device for your classroom.
  1. TimeMaps is an original resource because it lets students view the rise and fall of different civilizations, empires, and societies on a map as they adjust a corresponding timeline. Though the technology is not at the “breakthrough” caliber, the website does package all its content in an easy-to-use platform. In addition, students can click on different parts of the website to access information about the content they are exploring. With great content, the value in this website is that teachers can use it to teach about a variety of civilization. One idea we had is for world history teachers to preview upcoming units by having their students explore what is happening in the world at the time when the unit beings. For example, if students are going to be studying the Roman Empire, they could take a macro view of the world to help understand the global context for the upcoming unit. Plus, with all its content and a high score for its interactivity, teachers will have no problem pairing this resource with learning activities. If you want to see some of those activities, just click here!

That’s all for this month’s Roundup.  If you would like more information about any of the apps mentioned here or that are on the App Ed Review website, please contact us at And remember, cartography is still cool, especially in a digital format!



Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded He frequently delivers presentations and training on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Walsh became the Community Administrator for the Flipped Learning Network in June of 2016. In his "spare time" he also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one } February 11, 2017 at 10:14 am

This is the great source for everyone who want to learn more about this topic. I am also interested in maps, history and georaphy, so it was very interesting to read the post. This one is very helpful for students, keep it up.

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