Need Timelines?

In a stack of papers called Technology.

  • Dec
  • 24
  • 2007

A few sites for creating timelines briefly appeared previously, but I keep meaning to write a consolidated entry for posterity. That and I just found a new site today that’s way cooler than what I had before. Need timelines? You have a few options.

The New

Time Required: Little
Intuitive/Student Friendly: Yes
Storage: Online, Free
This is the best of all possibilities: an interface that’s easy to use and understand, something that students can work with, the ability to embed video and images, along with free online storage. Creation of timelines requires an account, but anyone can view. And the site is a bit YouTube in look-n-feel, so that should make things easy on one level. Plus, if you’re a teacher who’s into the whole collaborative editing movement, group timelines are possible, turning this into a wiki-ish venture.

The Old

Flash Timeline Creator
Time Required: Massive
Intuitive/Student Friendly: Not Quite
Storage: Online, At Your Expense
An interface here makes creation almost easy, but there are some finer details that confuse. This takes some time up front, though, so use this only if timelines really help your students learn content. That said, once you get used to it, it’s not so bad. I wouldn’t put this into the hands of students… again. They get frustrated very quickly (sorry, class of ’07).
JavaScript And XML Timeline
Time Required: Gargantuan
Intuitive/Student Friendly: Certainly Not
Storage: Online, At Your Expense
Do not use this unless you are a programmer. There’s no easy interface to enter information; it takes a lot of coding to make things happen. This requires an even more significant investment of time for creation than the previous one. And this is far too complex for the average kid to add to.
Excel Timeline
Time Required: Little
Intuitive/Student Friendly: Yes
Storage: Local, So Free
The best option of the old guard, this one is also the most limited. While the previous two allow links and images for each timeline item, Excel doesn’t go in for such things; you’re locked in to using text only. However, once you get a timeline set up (you’ll likely need to modify the given template), this is easy to hand over to students for their own use.

xtimeline comes via a WordPress News item in my dashboard this morning. If you have any more to add to this short list, let me know.

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