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Friday, August 1, 2014

Three Ways to Create Mapped Timeline Stories

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who was searching for a good way to have students create mapped timelines. The idea is to have students be able to create timelines whose events are directly matched to locations on maps. Doing this is a good way for students to see correlations between locations and events. Here are three tools that students can use to create mapped timeline stories.

MapStory is a free tool for creating mapped displays of data sets. Data sets that are time based, the travels of Genghis Khan for example, can be set to play out in a timeline style on your map. Creating a MapStory might look complicated at first glance, but it's actually quite easy to create a map. To get started select a data set or sets that you want to display on your map. You can choose data sets from the MapStory gallery or upload your own. After choosing your data set(s) select a base map. After that you can customize the look of the data points on your map and or manually add more data points to your map. The notes option in MapStory lets you create individual events to add to your map and timeline. Lines and polygons can also be added to your projects through the notes feature in MapStory.


ChronoZoom allows students and teachers to create their own mapped timelines. Timelines created in ChronoZoom can include multiple layers so that you can see how events and eras overlap. Within each section of your timeline multiple videos, images, and texts can be displayed. The "zoom" part of the name ChronoZoom comes from the way in which you navigate the timelines by zooming-in and zooming-out on elements of the timeline. In that sense ChronoZoom's display will remind some users of the Prezi interface. Project ChronoZoom offers three sample lesson units that teachers can download for free. The units include templates for creating content on ChronoZoom. A tool like ChronoZoom could be great for students to use to create comparisons of what was happening in multiple parts of the world during the same era.

The Google Earth Tour Builder allows students to create Google Earth tours in their web browsers. The Tour Builder uses a slide-like format for creating tours. Each slide or stop in the tour can have a date or range of dates attached to it. The tour places in the sequence that students build the stops in the tour. Have students create the stops in the tour chronologically to tell a timeline story. Learn how to use Google Earth Tour Builder in the video below.


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