21 Steps – Google Maps to Tell a Story


21 Steps

I saw this post last night on Google Maps Mania and I thought it was very cool! Penguin Books is working with six authors to create digital stories influenced by six classics in a series called We Tell Stories. So far only the first story, The 21 Steps, has been published on their site. It was a good read. I am looking forward to the rest. Over the next six weeks five more will appear.

What I find very interesting is that “The 21 Steps” uses Google Maps as a backbone. Each chapter is divided into multiple place marks on a map. After reading one place mark the reader follows the path of the character in the story to the next placemark.

I love this idea for a student writing project. Kids could write a story in the exact same manner. I showed it briefly to my 2nd period class and they were hooked!

The one thing I don’t like about “The 21 Steps” is that each placemark only contains text. It would be nice if they also contained pictures (and even video clips). For example, the beginning of “The 21 Steps” takes place in St. Pancras train station in London. It would be nice if readers could see images of the front and inside as they followed the character – especially for readers who have never been there. Adding pictures and video to Google Maps placemarks is very easy. If you’re interested in doing this sort of project with your students let me know and I will be happy help.


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