One of my favorite online services is Bing Maps. Bing Maps provides incredible visualization of data and information that you simply cannot find anywhere else. This rich visualization makes Bing Maps a great platform for communicating with your local school community and your campus visitors.
I recently met with a group of school superintendents and we were having a discussion about redistricting. The very word, “redistricting,” is generally met with some anxiety by parents, taxpayers, and voters.While I understand that these three roles can all be embodied in one person, most often, they are different people with different interests in redistricting. With Bing Maps, the school leadership can communicate what the plans are for a redistricting solution more effectively.
For example, if a school district needs to build a new school, close an old school, or both; Bing Maps can be used to show the existing district population, the impact area, and the new plan including a model of the new construction.. For homeowners concerned about their property values, Bing Maps can import additional data to communicate the change for this stakeholder audience. Finally, if redistricting creates a variance in board seats, Bing Maps will help voters know who represents them for their district on the school board. This map can be overlaid with per-pupil allocation data so that the community can see how much money is spent educating their diverse student populations by zip-code. Ultimately, Bing Maps enables the school leadership to have more effective conservations on difficult topics and add new level of tactical transparency.
Learning Geography and Collaboration
I use Bing Maps with my six-year old to help her learn geography through my travel itinerary and by finding the home countries of her friends. It’s a great spatial learning platform as it reinforces both her reading and writing skills in an ICT application. I would love to see an elementary class create historical or project-based Photosynths to add to Bing Maps as a group learning project during their next field trip.
Social Tours and Campus Directory Services
The final example for a great use of Bing Maps is to create a campus map. This is particular effective for Higher Education. Most university maps are static and dated. With Bing Maps, the school can create maps that are dynamic, social assets for the college or university. For example, visitors can connect directory searches with map visualizations. In this way, you will can find the professors’ phone number, her office building and the best parking for students, faculty, and visitors. Moreover, students can use Bing Maps to highlight their favorite off-campus hangouts for prospective students. Bing Maps can also be extended to mobile applications to create walking tours of the university.
I’ll close with a final note. Microsoft is providing Bing Maps at no-cost to educational institutions, faculty, and students. This is a great avenue to save money and improve operations. All you need is a Live ID and Bing Maps account. If you are already using Microsoft Live@edu, you’re halfway there. You can learn more here.
- The Next Big Thing in Learning!
- Microsoft OneNote Debuts on iPad
- Skype Joins Microsoft!
- Visually-Impaired Student Solves Accessibility Challenge, Becomes an Entrepreneur
- Professional Academic Communities in Yammer
- Bing Maps for Redistricting and Campus Orientation
- We The People Want More Broadband Investments for Our Nation's Classrooms