This week I’ve been working with Ms. Flaig (blog) on her G21 project. The students have researched buildings around the world and identified geometric designs that make each building unique. They have written a paper, and now we are creating Google Maps with all the buildings identified and linked to the papers.

This has been a multi-step process, and I have only been in the classroom for the online publishing and mapping portion. As I always do when helping someone publish anything online, I encouraged the students to read their papers one more time, very closely, and correct any mistakes. After all, they probably do not want the entire world to find their typos. When a student asked how to spell-check in Google, two others chimed in and helped her turn on her editing help in Google Docs. I had never used this feature, so I learned something new.

When we moved to the creation of place markers with images and links in Google Maps, I went through the process using the projector. Then I walked around as the students worked. Of course, there are two teachers and many more students with questions. However, Ms. Flaig has managed to create a culture in the room where students help each other. Despite never having done anything in Google Maps before, every student was able to get everything done.

Did it look messy? Yes. And it was loud. But it worked. Neat rows and silence are not necessary for learning to occur.