As the end of the school year draws to a close, I’m trying to be proactive in the area of future software purchases and upgrades. What will we need next year? And most importantly, in what do we really need to invest those limited budget funds?
If we upgrade our Macs to OS 10.7, one perennial favorite will no longer run: Timeliner. (I can’t even get a good online link to show you our version due to its age!) Is it worth buying a new version? I honestly think in this age of web 2.0 tools that the answer is “no”. There are lots of online timeline makers out there. It’s just a matter of finding one that meets our elementary school needs.
To get a jump start on this decision, a fourth grade class has been using the site, Timetoast. Here are the pros and cons.
- It’s easy to set up an account using the Gmail hack method. This allows for each student to have his/her own account, but it is managed by one address by the teacher.
- Timelines are able to be saved and edited.
- Pictures can be uploaded to the timelines.
- The format for typing text and uploading pictures is very straightforward. Very simple for elementary age kids!
- Once published, the timelines can be shared by link or embed code with a world wide audience.
- The timelines are interactive.
- A specific date is needed for an event. The day and month can not be omitted. This can prove a little tricky if a child does not have a specific date for an event (a very forgiving area of Timeliner the software.) Our solution with Timetoast: if you only want the year, use January 1 +year; or if you don’t know the specific day, use the month 1 +year. This at least puts the event in the right chronology.
- No spell check. (However, our current Timeliner software does not have that tool either.)
- If a print out is desired, there is no real print friendly option. The timeline may be viewed as text in a table format and then printed (with the contents of the web page).
- Fairly benign advertising appears on the site.
- There does not seem to be any comment moderation.
Personally, I don’t think any of the cons are deal breakers at this point in our test.
Please take a moment to check out these 4th grade samples. (Students were able to select up to 4 events to create KidPix drawings. Screenshots of these drawings were uploaded by the students.)
I’d love to hear if anyone has any other recommended free timeline making sites!