Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A History of Timelines & 5 Tools to Make Your Own

Through Brain Pickings I discovered a neat set of timelines called the Cartographies of Time. The Cartographies of Time are historical map and timeline mash-ups. I've embedded one of my favorite images from the Cartographies of Time below.



The Cartographies of Time made me think that it would be fun to have students create their own creative timelines like this one drawn as dragon, but if you would like to have your students create a more "traditional" multimedia timelines, I have a short list of good tools for that too.


Better World Flux allows users to create animated visualizations of development data. To use Better World Flux (no registration required) all you have to do is select a data set from the menu provided and select a country or countries from the menu provided. From there Better World Flux creates an animated data visualization for you. The visualization will change as the years on the timeline at the bottom of the visualization change. This way users can see growth and recession of a statistic over time.

Using XTimeline students can collaborate, just as they would when making a wiki, to build a multimedia timeline. Timelines built using XTimeline can include text, images, and video. XTimeline will accept dates in A.D./B.C. format.

Using the annotation and spotlight tools in YouTube's video editor your students can create a sequence of educational videos in a "choose your own adventure" style. Your students could create short videos about a series of events and link them together. In a very sequential course like U.S. History you could have students making videos and linking them together throughout a semester or longer. Click here or here to find directions on how to link videos together.

Time Toast is easy to learn to use. To add events to a timeline simply click on the inconspicuous "add an event" button and a simple event box pops up in which you can enter enter text, place a link, or add a picture.

Animaps wasn't built specifically for creating timelines, but it could be used for that purpose. Animaps is a service that was built for the purpose of allowing users to create animated Google Maps. The basics of creating maps in Animaps is very similar the process for creating maps in Google Maps. The main benefit of using Animaps over Google Maps is that you can create a tour of your placemarks that plays through according to the timing that you specify. Another benefit is that you can build in colored shapes to expand and contract to demonstrate patterns. You can also import images to your map from Flickr, Picassa, and Facebook. Click here to watch a demonstration of Animaps in action.