Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Great "Mashup:" Mapping Literary Journeys

Jerome Burg wants his students to "chew on" the really, really important ideas of a novels. Take, for instance, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck--which he says, "may have a lot more relevance than any of us should feel comfortable with."

By using Google Earth, he and an associate (Matthew Hart) at Granada High School have actually plotted out three-dimension versions of the journeys made in The Grapes of Wrath, Candide, Macbeth, The Aeneid, and others novels on the site GoogleLit Trips. Jerome says the idea to do this "exploded" in his mind, and he feels these Google Maps projects can draw the students into really studying literature in a way that the authors would have wanted. For example, in The Grapes of Wrath, you can see the flatness of the land, watch a video of a dust storm, see photos or art of the time period, and read chapter notes and questions from the teacher.

In addition to the Google Earth file that has been created for each book, there are short podcasts and screen shots for each one that give a brief description of what you will find when you open it in Google Earth. And talk about being "Web 2.0"--Jerome invites both teachers and students to see the site as a place to contribute "Lit Trip" mashups of their own.

Listen as Jerome describes this Google Certified Teachers project in an Infinite Thinking Machine "Take 5" recording: http://www.edtechlive.com/audio/JeromeBurg.mp3.