I have just completed a sleek looking time line on the history of hip hop using the web site of Time Toast. As a teacher, I can simply login with my school email address and I can then start making time lines with my students immediately.
Once your account has been created, you can start your first time line. You can give it a title for the time line, upload a picture and give it a category so that it can be easily searched later.
From there, you can start to add individual events that will drop into their own spots on the time line or I can click on a time span to talk about a wider set of events, such as the ruling era of a Roman Emperor.
If you would like to use this tool with your students though, they will require their own email address. A great alternative is that you use your email address, but create a generic username and password for all of your students. For example, click on “Sign Up” on the home page for Time Toast.
For the username, give it the name of your class or after school group – “8-1art” and the password will be something easy for all of the students, “student2010.” You can only make one username per email address, but you can get several users all under one username simultaneously. But to prevent all fo the students work from getting mixed up, I would heavily recommend that you make sure each student gives a unique name for each timeline they create, or perhaps their name as the title.
Now that all of the students are registered, you can create a time line together. The first thing that they need to do is “Add a New Timeline.” Give it the specific information that I covered before, and it would then be a good idea for them to conduct much of their research first by doing a web quest through a variety of web sites for your content. It is also a good idea to start typing up notes and documenting their references in a word processor program, such as Open Office.
I mention the word processor as the students will be primarily working with text and html code for each event that they create. Guide your students as you both click on “Add Event.” A new window of options will then pop up. They can type within the description text box a unique title for the even that will hover over the timeline. They can also upload their own photos which will appear as little thumbnails within the time line. They also need to select the dates for the event, what is great about this feature is that it doesn’t matter what order you create these events, they will automatically fall into chronological order on the time line.
The final text box option is the description. This is where typing your information in a word processor will be handy, as there is no spell checker or much of a word editor within Time Toast. The description will appear as a block of text when your audience clicks on the individual events within your timeline. Finally, if you click on “insert link” you can embed links to pages or your resources within the description of your event.
You can toggle back and forth between the editing of your timeline and seeing what it will appear as by clicking on “View this Timeline.” If you are happy with your results and you and/or the students are ready to share their work on their Mysapce, Facebook or Edmodo page in a flash, then you need to make it Public first.
At the top of their page, their should be a button that says “Change status here,” you can not make a timeline visible on the internet to share until it has been published as public. Once you have clicked the status button, you will have the option to “view,” “edit,” “delete,” or “publish.” Click on the publish button and hit “view” again.
Underneath the timeline, you will have the option to edit it again, embed it into your favorite social networking site or hit “Embed/Share,” so that you can past the html into your own blog or Edmodo page.
Selecting this option will then allow you to copy the “direct link,” which can be most suitable in an email. If you copy the “embed code,” it will appear as a nice sleek player within your website. You can also generate a different embed code, by click on the options underneath you can change the dimensions or the color of the timeline.
Students also have the option to leave comments underneath each other’s timelines, but I would advise against your student using that as they will all appear as your username, and you will have no way to track down who type something inappropriate. I would recommend that you introduce your students only to this site only after they have the research done, or they may caught up in downloading pictures and not accomplishing their time line. It is also a good idea to provide your students with their own web page so that they may share their discoveries with the rest of the class and to the rest of the world on the internet.