So, have you heard of GeoGuessr yet? If not, it's just a matter of time. My brother-in-law asked me for a quick lesson in Portuguese linguistics the other night and I gave him my suspicious face. (Nobody EVER asks me to talk about linguistics on purpose.) He needed to be able to distinguish written Portuguese from written Spanish. Why? He explained it was for an online game and I was suddenly very interested.
GeoGuessr is the new game that uses Google Street View panoramic photos and your own knowledge of geography. When you start the game, you get a street view of an unknown spot in the world and you explore around until you feel comfortable making a guess at where in the world it might be.
Road signs, vegetation, and the landscape are the big clues. Then you learn to look for little things like which side of the road the traffic is driving on, whether the signs are in metric or imperial measure, the language on advertisement on the sides of passing trucks, whether the ocean to the east or the west, etc. A game of GeoGuessr lasts for five locations/guesses and will present you with a score and a map when you're finished. The best score I've gotten so far was in the neighborhood of 13,500 - but I'll admit to a big bit of luck when I caught sight of a "Welcome to Utah" sign on that one!
Below is one that I did without benefit of welcome signs. The score on this map was 12,300 . . . but of course, the idea isn't to get a high score so much as to explore the world and learn while you are doing it. Still, I am so competitive that I can't help myself. (Doggone it, Canada! Why do you have to be so big? LOL)
In short, it is a lot of fun and it is such an amazing learning tool. So far the Google Van hasn't made it all over the Spanish-speaking world yet. However, there are extensive maps of Spain and Mexico and a good start in Chile. My head is spinning with ways this could be used in the classroom, but I'll let you explore it some for yourself and then I'll sprinkle my ideas in blog posts for the next couple days.
Enjoy yourselves, amigos. Explore!