Equitable Icebreaker with Google Maps

Equitable Icebreaker with Google Maps


So the first thing I want to show you is
an introductory activity. An icebreaker, actually, that was developed by my
colleague Ana Cortesio at Laney College. And I’ve expanded on it a little bit so
let me show you how it works. This activity takes place in a discussion
forum in Canvas and it has two parts. So for the first part, students are asked to
open up a class map that I’ve created in Google Maps and I’ve asked them to
locate their hometowns, place a pin on their town, and then write something
special or unique about where they come from. And also add an image or a video as well. So here you’ll see that our map is embedded into the discussion forum. However, we can’t actually edit here. This is view only mode so for them to be able
to edit they’ll click this link here or they can also click this box that says
“View larger map” and it will open up our map in a new window. They’ll click Edit
and you’ll see already that there’s a list of students with their hometowns
mentioned. And so they will scroll, they will zoom in until they find their
hometown. They’ll click the pin button here and that will open up a box for
them to type into. So they’ll write their name, their hometown, something special
about where they’re from or something they want the class to know about where
they come from. And then they’ll include an image or a video and upload that. So
I’ll show you what it looks like. So if they click on the pins then it’ll
open up and you’ll have to move the map a little bit. So open up the description
of the hometown along with the picture and you’ll see that some students have
included a few photos. And now I’ll show you what part 2 involves. So once
students place their pin on the map it will automatically show up in our
embedded version here in the discussion forum. And part 2 ask them to travel the
world to scan the map and read all of the different pins to learn about where
their classmates come from. And you’ll see that we have a very diverse class.
This is a English to Speakers of Other Language so students do come from all
over the world. And after they take a tour, I want them to find any
similarities or comment on whether or not they’ve been to each others home
towns or maybe they have some questions about what their classmates talked about
in their descriptions. I want them to share what they found most interesting
and kind of start connecting. And to do that they will then click reply here and
post to the discussion. So you asked me to comment on why icebreakers are
important and this particular icebreaker, I think, really helps students to create
connections to get to know one another at the onset of the course and feel more
comfortable learning together. And I think this one’s also fun because it
allows them to experiment with the technology. They’re probably familiar
with Google Maps but in a new innovative capacity. I think this is also an equity-minded activity because it shows that the instructor really values each and
everyone’s unique lived experiences and also encourages other students to do the
same. So it levels the playing fields at the beginning of the class.

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