Screencastify makes teaching custom maps easy

For this final project I wanted to focus on a skill I enjoyed learning, which could also be accessible and fun for scholastic newspaper staff members. I loved the “Timelines, maps and other cool stuff!” unit and activities in my Digital Media course, so I knew that’s what I would focus on.

My publication already utilizes Google Forms for surveys, and the timeline tool I used, Timeline JS, has tutorial videos embedded in its site, so I decided to focus on exploring and making maps.

Because the paper I advise is extracurricular, my lesson plans (click here to see them) are created to be activities the paper’s editors in chief can implement during training sessions, whether I am there or not.

Along with the two sequential in class activities, there are two at home “homework” assignments. One is more formal and has a rubric to act as a bridge between activity one and activity two. The second is to finish creating the map they begin working on during activity two.

This was my first time making a video tutorial, and creating the Screencastify video was mainly easy and intuitive, but I definitely learned from the process. 

I took the time to write a script and practiced saying it aloud a few times, which made me realize it was way too wordy and long. I revised to focus on being short, direct and simple.

Of course, as I was recording I learned my school’s Screencastify account allows for only five-minute videos, and I was cut-off abruptly before finishing even the abridged version of what I had planned. This happened three times. Ultimately, I couldn’t keep the tutorial to under five minutes so I recorded a second video and figured out how to edit the two together in a pretty seamless way.

I’m proud of the end result, and I’m excited to share the activities, and especially the video tutorial, with my staff members. I’m excited to see what they think and how they do with creating their own maps. In fact, this will work perfectly with the remote learning we’re experiencing right now due to the coronavirus.

I plan to take the skills I’ve learned through this final project to create a series of tutorial videos for my staff, and I also plan to have editors make their own tutorial videos to pass on their knowledge and skills to the next generations of young journalists.

Exploring and Creating Maps Lesson Plans

Customized Google Maps Tutorial

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