Maybe it’s the festive spirit in the air. Maybe it’s the eggnog they serve in the Google cafe. Whatever it is, Google Maps feels like the gift that just keeps on giving! For the past ten years Google has been helping children around the world track and follow Santa on his journey from the North Pole. And each year it just gets better and better. Students can play high quality Christmas themed games, watch fun videos and of course learn all about Santa and his journey from country to country.
Compatibility: Desktop / Android / Chromecast
Access: No signup required
A Quick Look
1. The lead up
With only a matter of days before Santa and his reindeer set off, Google Santa Tracker is on live countdown to the big event. Students logging on can check-in each day with the tracker as new games, videos and learning opportunities become available in the fun filled elf village. With a real mix of cheer, color, sights and sounds, Santa Tracker is a wonderfully interactive digital advent calendar.
2. The big day
The minute the countdown clock hits zero, the party starts and students will be able to access Santa’s dashboard. From here they can follow Santa’s progress around the world in Google Maps, and also learn a little about some of his stops along the way. With fascinating tidbits of information being dropped at each location, it’s a fun way for students to learn about other countries and cultures all under the context of Santa’s journey.
3. Track from anywhere
It turns out Santa is just as tech-enthused as we are and can now be tracked on all number of devices. Whether you want to project Google’s Santa Tracker up in front of the class using a browser or a Chromecast, install the Chrome extension, or if you want students to track using their Android devices, Google has you covered.
4. Code for Christmas
This year Google have snuck a few neat little Christmas coding games into the mix. If your students enjoy these and you want to encourage further programming over the festive period, make sure to also check out Google’s Made with Code project where students can program their own Christmas tree light show.
5. Harness the excitement
Google Maps offers some amazing opportunities for students to learn about the world around them. Take advantage of the excitement around tracking Santa and introduce your class to Google Maps and the huge learning opportunities it creates. Plan a virtual field trip. Go sightseeing. Or even have students create their own maps with Google Maps Engine.
Links and Next Steps
- Google Santa Tracker Help Center – Help getting started
- Race with Rudolph and skydive with Santa – Google’s official blog
- Amazing Virtual Field Trip Ideas with Google Street Views
- 5 Ways to Have Fun with Google Maps in Class
- Join the #tracksanta conversation on Google+ and Twitter
- Google Santa Tracker 2014: Still on Vacation – Video (1 min)
- Made with Code – Project to inspire girls to pursue their dreams with code
- NORAD Santa Tracker – Another great way to track the man in red
- Holiday Tradition Tests – Christmas around the world with teacher resources and lesson plans