Wednesday, July 24, 2013

GeoGuessr: An Addictive Game with Educational Potential

Yesterday after work I walked into our Tech Department computer lab and saw two of our young techs playing a game. I walked over and sat with them, hoping to learn something new, and I sure did.

GeoGuessr (tag line "Let's Explore the World") is a game that works through Google Maps. When you pull up the site, you'll see a location at street view level via Google Maps. You can look around as much as you like; there's no time limit, but your goal is to figure out where in the world you are. Sometimes you can read street signs, sometimes you will examine the flora and fauna, and once in a while if you drive around in the bush long enough, you will locate a helpful kangaroo which will let you know you are in Australia not Africa. Trust me, that can be a tough distinction, as my two colleagues explained.  When you think you've got it figured out, drop the pin on the map and guess. The closer you get, the more points you receive. Once you guess, you get another location.

I just found out from my friend Jake (@duncanbilingual) that you can actually make your own GeoGuessr games using GeoSettr. What?!? Wow!

I hope geography, social studies, and teachers of world awareness of all kinds will be able to use this game. I can see how language arts teachers could use it to talk about and teach inferencing. (Are those signs written with Cyrillic characters? Where are those used? I think that's Russia!)

Let me know ideas you come up with to use this cool game in the classroom---or if you abandon Candy Crush for something from which you can actually learn!

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