What I would like those who view my map to take away from the experience is the tension I feel between how much I love adventure and how much I love my home, the Pacific Northwest. I grew up just east of Portland, visited my grandma in Mt. Angel on the weekends, and vacationed with family in Lincoln City. For me, Oregon is the most important place because it contains the most important people and experiences to me, but I have been formed by other places, of course. Spokane, Washington treated me to my education, both in academics and relationships. Florence, Italy awakened my independence and gave me the confidence I need to negotiate all of the other places in my life. I hope my description of all of these places conveys a sense of fun, too, which can make any place in the world feel close to you. I view this map as a work in progress, as I become a part of more places and those places become a part of me.
The application of this project to our lives as educators and our practice in the classroom is clear. First, if computers are readily available for students (like in a 1-to-1 school), this could be a really powerful beginning of the year activity to introduce students to each other and the teacher. Allowing each student to make up their own map and show others around the place(s) that are most important to them would generate a sense of community and cultural responsiveness that would benefit the class dynamic. The opportunity for the individual student reflection that would be required to complete this project would also be invaluable. I can also see this having academic uses as well. For example, this could add a lot more depth to a lesson on the geographic concepts of location and place. Maybe a history lesson on WWII could benefit from a collaborative effort by groups of students to map the movements of different armies through Europe, Northern Africa, and the Pacific. In terms of educational technology, Google My Maps seems to be of very high value, most especially in its versatility.