Google Tour Builder

Geography apps can be used in various subject matters to showcase geography’s impact. For example, In history they could be used to track an explorer’s journey, in math you could track a dream vacation to keep up with expenditures and balancing a check book, and in science they could be used to track the migration of birds or whales. Of course Language Arts has countless applications like using them to follow the main character in a book or to follow the history of language. There are a a lot of global apps out there.  Here’s a link to a Geography Padlet I created with some information about a few of them. I used Google Tour Builder this year to showcase my students’ work for Open House.


Earlier in the semester, my grade 6 students (ages 11-12)  had a geography focused assignment where they had to pick a city to create a PowerPoint Presentation on.  The focus was on research skills, PowerPoint creation, and the delivery of the Presentation. All images had to either be from the Public Domain, Creative Commons with proper attribution, or taken themselves. In 6 school days, 40 middle school students gave presentations as the other classmates scored their peers on

  1. PowerPoint Creation of Visuals, and text (less text was emphasized)
  2. Presentation skills of Eye Contact, Vocal Clarity, and not reading slides

The last slide of their presentation was a poster that they created themselves using Canva. It was a travel poster convincing people to visit their chosen city. I wanted a place to show that we worked on this during Open House, though showing a PowerPoint would be a bit long. Enter Tour Builder! We showcased the posters students make on our interactive Tour Builder project.Screen shot 2015-07-05 at 9.02.46 PM

Tour Builder

For Open House, my class created a class Tour Builder project. This is a project created originally for the troops to show families where they were stationed, etc. It is a Google app and thus uses Google Earth. It can also be used easily for vacations. For educational purposes you could map an explorer (like Magellan for example) journey around the globe. I used it to show parents al the presentations that we had. Not only was the map of students city, with brief information, but it showed a poster that students created in Canva of their city. I tried to have parents get the QR code and check out the work on their mobile phone. Unfortunately it does not yet run on mobile devices, or at least not iOS devices includeing iPads. So instead I set aside 5 computers in my classroom to be strictly for sharing the Tourbuilder to parents. Click here for our Class Tour Builder:

Next year, I plan to go further with this tool. Ideally I would like students to create a complete tour instead of a segment of a class tour. Though students do get a piece of what is available, they do not get to create the actual finished project. Do you have any ideas of how you could use this in your classroom?  Please share in the comments.

NOTE: Google Earth recently released Google Voyager for it’s 10th anniversary. I have not yet used this platform but plan to see if it offers a better platform for my needs, You may want to try it out.

Categories: Apps

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