Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Using Tiki-Toki timeline creator in the classroom

     I first wrote about Tiki-Toki a few weeks ago and was happy to find out a few days later, that they have created an account for education. My grade 4 students are doing a unit on exploration and I wanted to find a useful tool to create a timeline for the history of exploration. 

     I was very impressed with the overall look of the site and the fact that you can insert multimedia, including videos and photos. I signed for an account and decided to give it a try. 

     Overall, Tiki-Toki is one of the best choices for creating  beautiful, interactive timelines. The fact that they have an education account makes it even more attractive for educators. It costs $100 for up to 50 students which is not a bad deal at all for what it can do. 

What I liked: 
  • Timelines look stunning and the ability to add media to each story creates more depth and interactivity. 
  • You can assign individual usernames and passwords for up to 50 students with an education account. 
  • Students can each create up to 5 personal timelines and can access timelines created by the teacher to edit. 
  • Once logged in, students are able to edit their own story but can't edit others, ensuring that everyone's work is protected. 
  • Creating a new story and adding media is fairly simple to do. 
  • You can customize the introduction and background images, giving each timeline a unique look. 
  • It is easy to embed your timelines in other sites by copying and pasting the embed code.  
  • Teachers and students can set a secret password for each timeline they create and others can edit your timeline by going to the url of the timeline and entering the password. 

Suggestions to make it even better: 
  • Currently, you can only add images from Flickr. You can create your own account on Flickr but finding photos can be difficult. It would be good if you could upload photos directly from your computer as well as from other photo sharing sites. 
  • Adding videos is somewhat inconvenient. You can't search for videos directly from the site and need to find a link and then copy the url manually. It would be great if you could search sites like Youtube directly in Tiki-Toki.  
  • You can only add a single date for each story. In cases like the exploration timeline that my students made, it would have been good to have the option to set a beginning and end date for the story to show a whole time period rather than one single event. 

     Tiki-Toki is a new site and will likely continue to improve over time. It allows you and your students to create visually impressive timelines which could be created for a variety of purposes in the classroom. If you are looking for a timeline creator for your own class, I would certainly recommend that you consider trying it out. 

     Below is the timeline we have created for our history of exploration. Each student was asked to research an explorer and create a biography. They were encouraged to add photos and videos when possible. You can view the full width timeline here