We’ve all been there. Maybe it was when you were looking for a website login, an exact address or a coworker’s blog. At some point, every educator googles their own school. And no matter your school’s mission, socio-economic status or geographical location, we are all on the same page when those search results come back. You will get your school website, perhaps a Wikipedia entry, and maybe some YouTube videos or Facebook groups.
But another thing ‘the big G’ always serves up is your school’s Google Maps location card. See it there in the upper-right hand corner of the search results? Clicking on this card opens up the full Google Maps entry of your school. And right smack dab in the middle of that entry is something that might surprise you… your school’s reviews! Strap-in for a wild ride:
And so on and so forth until the end of time. There is nothing unique about the real school reviews above. They very well could have been pulled off of your school’s Google Maps page.
In fact, almost every school I have ever seen on maps (and I have looked at hundreds upon hundreds at this point) seem to have the EXACT SAME reviews! How is this possible?! Thirty percent are wildly positive, thirty percent are horrendously negative, and the rest are generally empty with no context or explanation given. Even when the reviews are positive they tend to offer little insight or reason as to what makes this school a great place to learn. And Google maps reviews are a very special online space indeed. They are public, visible, multimedia compatible, community moderated, self-translating and easily shareable.
This is a space that is screaming to be used in a new way. It is obvious that schools can’t be treated in the same way we review a movie theater or taco shop. Our work as educators is too complex, too nuanced and too important to be boiled down to 1-5 stars.
Is it possible to repurpose Google Maps reviews and reclaim these small corners of the internet for our own educational purposes? The answer is a resounding YES!
#EdPins is a Google Innovator project that is on a mission; to highlight the beautiful, unique work in every school. Every school on earth is either already on, or has the potential to be added to Google Maps. This incredible fact can be leveraged this to share the great stuff that makes our school a special and unique place to be.
What if instead of focusing on subjective opinions and experiences, we treated these review cards as a way to share objective facts and information about the learning at our school? Imagine searching a school and seeing all of the beautiful projects, impactful service work and unique educational opportunities that are taking place there, submitted by the teachers themselves! This is the vision of #EdPins.
So how can you get your school ‘on the map’? The process is very simple!
1. Head to www.edpins.org and have a look around the site and the entries around the globe.
2. Decide what type of pin you want to share; Innovation pins highlight outstanding new projects and methodologies, Service pins highlight great volunteer and community work, Alumni pins share alumni stories about how an education at this school shaped you as a person and Collaboration pins share opportunities to connect and share with other educators.
Want some inspiration? Check out:
3. Click on the ‘Submit’ tab to submit your school’s work and all of the required information.
4. When you receive your official #EdPin submission in your inbox, post it to your school’s Google Maps page along with student-safe photos and videos of your work.
5. Share out your entry over social media!
By repurposing our schools’ Google Maps reviews we can change the game in education! We can connect with like-minded educators around us, share out the work we are most proud of with a real-world audience and model positive digital citizenship to our kids at a time when they need it most! More importantly, we are taking back a forgotten little corner of the internet and using it in a way that will strengthen everyone in our community!
I hope to see your classroom on #EdPins soon!
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