Friday, December 18, 2009

The 2009 Edublog Awards

Winners, First Runner Up, and Second Runner Up have all been announced for all 19 categories.  Each category and its homepage for winners and all those nominated can be found below.
No better resource for education and technology then all the blogs available here.  Check them out and see which ones you can follow to help improve your teaching. 

I am looking forward to next year!

Friday Focus - Online Timeline Creation

It is hard to imagine a middle or high school student who has not done a timeline in some class throughout their education experience.  As teachers we all have generally assigned one to students where they use their textbooks, find the date, and tell the importance.  Well, with the implementation of websites dedicated to timeline creation, those days can be over...and your timelines created by your students will really catch your attention, as well as visitors to the website.  There are five basic websites for creating timelines that I will be discussing today and in no particular order.  Xtimeline, Dipity, TimeToast, TimeGlider, and Capzles.

Before I begin my examination I do want to mention that Prezi would be a great way to create timelines.  I got this idea while on the Forum at Classroom 2.0 from Jeremy Cunningham.  He provided a link to timlines created on Prezi....what a great idea!

Now on to Timeline websites.

- Probably the best because it has made part of its focus education.  The timeline itself has a lot of neat features.  The zoom feature makes it easy to move from one year/decade to another, so if you are doing an exapnsive timeline, that can come in handy.  I have added am image below of the textbox you get to use to create your entry in the timeline.  The only feature I don't like it time and time zones...for most assignments in high school I don't think that will matter, however it does give you the option to not use time in the preferences section.  You can add links to a URL and pictures to the timeline as well.  It has a pop up calendar so that you don't have to enter in the date if you would prefer to look it up.  Overall, I think that TimeGlider would be a great addition to any project.  It does require email and password setup, but does not require email verification to use.  Something that is always a plus.

- First thought....Email Verification.  So if your students need to use this site, they have to have their email verified first.  When you create your timeline, you give it a category.  You can also apply an image to it, which would come in handy for those visual learners.  The Event box is very simple: title, date, description, link, image.  Nothing new there.  However, It does have add a Time Span.  This is a great feature because so often events in time do not last one that gives Timetoast a feature the others do not.  The viewing feature is easy as well.  Just hover over the event and you can get a short description and an image (if included).  Click on the event and you get the full write up.  Below is the Add Event Screen.

- No Email Verification required which is a great plus.  Creation is great.  You can give your timeline a custom URL, so students could easily use something that as a teacher you would know (Last Name, Nickname, etc.).  You can add a photo, as well as place it in a list of categories.  Students can also give it tags making searching for it a lot easier.  A Description of the Timeline is also required.  When adding an event, you can even download or upload them if you have done them earlier in class in an Excel Document.  Adding an event gives you all the normal options.  So far the main difference from the ones mentioned above is that you can embed HTML code, which would be great for videos.  Another great feature is at the end of the Add Event page, there is a box for source.  Even though the site does not require a source, as a teacher, you can...another great feature.  Viewing is easy as well.  It shows the event, you click on it, in the window you can go forwrds or backwards and see very entry, or exit out and see the whole timeline.  You are also given the option to print the timeline as well.  You can also view it in outline form, or full view.  A very useful timeline website.

- Dipity is an interesting timeline site.  What I like about it is that it is very detailed.  What I don't like about it is that it will generate a timeline for you.  So a students could search the web for Pearl Harbor and it will generate a timeline for that event based on entries from a web search, and then it would appear that a student completed it, without really doing any work.  So ease of use for a student is not the best, because it took me a bit to figure out where to start a blank one.  Once I did find that, you get all the usual features as the other ones.  Dipity would be better served as a resource for research than for creation.

- Capzles is a neat little website.  Now, it is not necessarily a timeline of historic events, but a way for you to document an event as it happens using pictures.  Think of it as a Digital Story Timeline.  You put the pictures in the order things happened, with a little text on top of the picture, and you have a timeline of your event.  Would be great to document a field trip, but not necessarily for a histoircal timeline.  Still a site worth checking out.

Have your students used any of these sites?  If so, comment and post a link to your students creations.  Have you used any of these sites?  What were your experiences.