Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cluster Maps to Show Blog Visitors

Perhaps you have a classroom or teacher blog, but do your visitors see where all of your readers are located?  Clustr Maps is a neat way to show who is visiting your blog.  If your blog is hosting student content, this can be especially motivating for the students.  How excited would they be to see that someone from China or Africa visited their blog?   Clustr Maps are free and can be put into many different types of sites including blogs, wikis and websites that accept HTML/Javascript.

If you click on a Clustr Map, such as the sample one on the Clustr Map website itself, it is enlarged and gives you more statistics.  The statistics include which number of visitors from each country and state.  It also shows the information about where the most recent visitors were from.

One teacher, Derrick Willard from North Carolina, shows how the audience on his class blog increased and locations varied over time in this SlideShare presentation.  Students would be motivated by the increase in audience and also learn some geography at the same time. Tom Barrett, in his blog post, also strongly suggests that you include a Clustr Map on your class blog as helps students to realize they have a real audience.

I added a Clustr Map to this blog as a demonstration.  At first, no dots show on the map.  Over time, this will increase.  See if your dot shows on the map!