Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Using Timelines as Digital Portfolios and Reflections on Learning

We often think of creating timelines as just an activity for history lessons. There are other ways besides history lessons to use timelines in a classroom. One of those ways that I've been sharing in my workshop about multimedia timelines is the idea of having students build personal timelines as digital portfolios.

Building timeline can be a good way for students organize the things they have learned created in the course of a school year. Creating a multimedia timeline is a good method of displaying the things that students have created in the course of the school year.

Creating a timeline of things learned:
Read Write Think's Timeline Creator is a good tool for students to use if you just want them to create timelines of things they learned during the school year. I would have them add an entry or two for every month of the school year. The entry doesn't have to be terribly detailed as I'm just looking at this activity as a reflection and summary activity. RWT's Timeline Creator does not require students to have an email address or register for an account.

Creating a multimedia timeline as a digital portfolio:
Through a multimedia timeline creation tool students can combine videos, picture collages, audio recordings, and or Google Maps that they have made during the course of the school year. Again, I would have students add one or two items for each month of the school year. There are two multimedia timeline creation tools that I really like right now. Those are Timeline JS and HSTRY.

Timeline JS is a great tool if your school is using Google Apps for Education. Timeline JS creates a timeline based on entries made in a Google Spreadsheets template provide by Timeline JS. Your entries can include links to videos, images, and maps. I made a video on how to use Timeline JS. That video is embedded below.

HSTRY is the other multimedia timeline builder that I like a lot. HSTRY is a favorite of mine because as a teacher you can create an online classroom in which you monitor your students' work. With a HSTRY account you can build timelines in a vertical scroll format similar to that of a Facebook feed. To start the process pick a topic and upload a cover photo. To add events to the timeline just click the "+" symbol and select the type of media that you want to add to your timeline. You can add videos, images, audio, and text to the events on your timeline.