This week is a timely post about a timeline creator called HSTRY.com. Don’t let the name fool you – this application has uses far beyond the history classroom. Essentially any content that you would like students to learn can be used here. Content doesn’t need to be sequential to use this tool. Take a look at this “timeline” I created about the themes in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
My favorite thing about this tool is its ability to use all kinds of media to create a timeline. Students are not limited to dates and text with the occasional picture thrown in. Creators can embed video, audio, quizzes, drag-and-drop assessments, and “Did you know” boxes as well as forum questions for student response making this a truly interactive tool. The applications are endless.
I did a quick overview of the Virginia Standards of Learning and these are just a few of the applications I came up with:
To get started, get your free account. A free account allows you to have unlimited students. A premium account, just $49 a year, allows extras like YouTube Video uploads and collaboration as well as access to premium content bundles. These bundles are corporate created timelines about historical periods. To preview some of this premium content, go here. A free account does allow you access to community timelines created by other HSTRY users.
Once your account is created you can then create classes, again as many as you need. Each class will have its own unique join code for student account creation. To create a “teaching timeline” simply click on create timeline. Give it a title and decide how to you want to organize the material.
When you click on the plus sign the toolbox will appear. Images can be uploaded
via a file upload or you can use the image URL. Video upload requires the YouTube link. Videos will be played on the same page as the timeline – no having to go back and forth. The “Did You Know” feature creates a block with the heading “Did you know?” You insert an interesting fact about your topic. For example, I included a tribal map as a “Did You Know?” block for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Multiple Choice allows you to create a quick question with multiple choice answers within the timeline. With Drag & Drop you can create matching activities. Forum allows you to pose a question and collect student responses. Heading is simply a way to divide the timeline.
On the student side, students will be asked to register as a student. It will ask them for the student code generated when you created the class. They will need to create a username and password and give their name. On your screen you will be able to view not only how many students are logged in but who they are. Every student timeline will also be displayed on your teacher page so you can view student progress.
For more information, checkout this tutorial on YouTube. For some concrete examples across content areas, look at these timelines: