For those of you that don’t have the time or inclination to read the forum, a while back I found a really nice site that allows users to show others where they live using Google Maps and your zip code. Despite it’s Orwellian-like nature, Frappr! actually makes good (and safe) use of Google’s free mapping service to help online communities, pen pals, and other e-groups show where each of the members are in relation to one another.
To test it out I started a Tech Savvy Ed account at Frappr! where everyone is welcome to post his or her whereabouts. Since posting it on the forum back in November almost all of the moderators have posted their whereabouts will little trouble, and absolutely no logging in. That’s right! This site is so easy to use that the only person who actually has to login is the admin of the group. Since I created the techsavvyed group at Frappr! everyone else only has to follow the link and enter their nickname, a shout out, and their 5 digit zip code (only your town is revealed, no worries on giving out your mailing address or real name).
At its basic level, the site is really fun to see where people who visit your site are. However, on a much more educational note you could use such a tool to display the location of pen pals for students to get a better idea of where their letters or e-mail are being sent. I’m thinking about doing just this once I find a classroom in Africa or Europe for my students to correspond with this spring. With features constantly being added, it’s also possible for groups to share photos, start a forum and display a scrolling marquee of images from your group on any web page (think about sharing images from your classroom with others). You could even put a mini-map on your own webpage to let students share and/or track a trip they took over the summer. The possibilities of this electronic pushpin map are quite limitless, and best of all, it falls under the “magic word” category of FREE!
P.S. Even if you’ve only visited the Tech Savvy Educator a few times, whether or not you participate in the forum, and whether or not you find this site helpful in any way shape or form it would still be awesome to see where you visited the site from. Feel free to head over to our Frappr! account at http://www.frappr.com/techsavvyed and click on “Add Yourself.” You can even include a goofy picture if you like.