'Cambridge Univeristy Press: Geography for the IB Diploma: Patterns and Change: Paul Guinness' photo (c) 2010, Richard Allaway - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Yes, it’s time for another one of my “The Best….” lists. one will highlight the websites I think are the best for teaching about geography.

As in my other lists, the criteria include that the sites don’t require any software download, and that they’re free, engaging, and accessible to English Language Learners.

Also, check out The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners.

You can find all my many Geography-related lists at The Best Resources For Geography Awareness Week.

Here are my top picks for The Best Websites For Learning & Teaching Geography:

Mapping Our World from Oxfam is a great series of animated and audio lesson on maps, and the accuracy and inaccuracy of their projections affect our view of the world.

Three sites are good reference sites for students to use when they’re researching different countries. One is Fact Monster- Countries. Another is DK Online World Desk Reference. For DK you have to get a password, but it’s free, quick and easy to do so. My students, and I, have found these two sites very informative and accessible. The third one, though, I believe is slightly better because it appears to have more up-to-date data and it includes images. It’s called the World Info Zone.

Both of these sites offer an extensive collection of online videos from around the world. The two are Geobeats and National Geographic Videos.

Mythic Journeys lets you see, hear and read animated tales about creation myths from around the world at site. These will certainly help students learn about different cultures.

The Traveler IQ Challenge is probably going to be just about the most difficult map game you’ll ever play. But it’s a lot of fun, and there are “Challenges” from all parts of the world.

At Community Walk  students can put many sites on a map with descriptions and images (which can easily be grabbed off the web). Students can use these to report on countries, describe field trips, and for numerous other mapping assignments. There are lots of these kinds of site, but I’ve found Community Walk to be the most accessible.

At Placespotting, students are shown a spot on the map, and given a series of riddles to help them determine what it is. All these geographic riddles are user-generated, and students can create their own, too.

The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips

The Social Studies page at I Know That has tons of different kinds of map games that are informative and fun. Once you click on each game, an annoying pop-up asks if you want to register. But all you have to do is click “maybe later” and it goes away.

10 Websites For Virtual Sightseeing With Travel Videos is a nice list from The Make Use of blog.

D-Maps has a huge collection of map outlines to print for class use.

This Would Be A Nice Geography Assessment is a post I’ve written.

I’ve previously highlighted Glencoe’s online videos for social studies, but have now discovered that offer many more free resources to support all their social studies textbooks. They’re useful even if you don’t use their books, though, and they’re freely available. You can start off at their main Social Studies site or at their main site for all their textbooks. From there, it’s easy to navigate to their U.S. History, World History and Geography books. They all have links to videos, “in-motion animations” like one, interactive maps like (I especially like these maps because they offer audio support for the text), and different games (I especially like their categorization activities). Here is the link to the entire video collection.

Maps Of The World has lots of free printable…maps.

The New York Times Learning Network has published an excellent post called All Over the Map: 10 Ways to Teach About Geography.

Urban Observatory lets you compare three major cities of your choice from around the world and map data about them in a number of areas (population density, open space, etc.). You can read more about it at Wired.

Here’s an example showing traffic at the same time of day:


40 maps that explain the world is a great collection from the Washington Post that may be the best geography site of the year. It links to another site called 40 Maps They Didn’t Teach You In School that has a number of other good maps. However, that second site also includes a few maps with topics and language that wouldn’t be appropriate for the classroom.

Now, The Post has published a sequel: 40 more maps that explain the world.

The Post published yet another exceptional collection titled 25 maps and charts that explain America today.

Google has just created a special site for the Street Views they’ve done in remote and/or unusual sites, including Burj Khalifa, Iqaluit, Mt. Everest, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon Basin and the Kennedy Space Center. More are on the way.

11 Overlay Maps That Will Change The Way You See The World is from Business Insider.

‘Doing’ Geography Instead Of ‘Studying’ It is a post at my  Education Week Teacher blog.

In it, four educators share their thoughts on teaching geography: Kelly Young, from whom I’ve learned more about teaching than from anyone else; Elisabeth Johnson, who is the best social studies teacher I’ve ever seen; middle school educator Lisa Butler; and Matt Podbury, who teaches Geography at an International School in France.

Travel By Drone has thousands of videos from around the world that have been made through the use of drones. They’re searchable by geography through a search box, and they are also pins on a map.

Lesson Plan | Analyzing Maps to Better Understand Global Current Events and History is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Six maps that will make you rethink the world is from The Washington Post.

TED-Ed has released a video and lesson titled “How North America got its shape.”

From Ptolemy to GPS, the Brief History of Maps is from Smithsonian Magazine.

Persuasive Cartography: How Maps are Used to Shape Our Beliefs is from Geo Lounge (thanks to Rick Wormeli).

Announcing a New Feature to Build Students’ Geography Skills comes from The New York Times.

Find All The NY Times Learning Network’s “Country Of The Week” Quizzes In One Place!

Maps That Changed Our World is a great interactive from The Library of Congress.

Seterra has long been a “go-to” Geography site, with zillions of engaging games and quizzes. They’ve recently added a new fabulous feature to their interactives – now, anyone – without registering – can turn any of their games/quizzes into custom ones and share its unique url address. All you have to do is click on the “Create Custom Quiz” link at the top of each of their interactives. What a great assignment for students to do! There are other tools that let you create custom Geography quizzes (you can find them at The Best Online Geography Games), but none are as easy to use as this new Seterra tool.



Infographic Of The Week: “Visualizing Countries by Share of Earth’s Surface”

Let me know if you think I’ve missed any particularly good geography sites.

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