I spent some time chatting with Andy Mink about his presentation for our AEE Technology Symposium entitled “ It’s About Time: Visualizing the Past in a Hands-on History Classroom”.   Andy is Executive Director of LEARN NC, at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   One of the tools he will be showcasing during his presentation is ChronoZoom— an award-winning, open source, cross-platform, openly-authored timeline of history.

Andy helped develop ChronoZoom with folks at Microsoft Research, who charged him with the task of assembling a team of teachers to discover the best way to use ChronoZoom in the classroom.   Here are some of the things he and his team discovered:

ChronoZoom allows both students and educators to zoom in on timelines of history, create their own timelines, and see how events in history overlap so that students can not only see the events on a timeline, but also put those events in perspective to see how they relate to other events and other timelines in history.   He explained it a little like Google Earth—you can zoom out and look at a span of say a billion years or so, or you can zoom in and look at a specific day in history, much the same was as you can zoom in on Google Earth and look at your own house.   Thus allowing educators and students to compile huge amounts of data and organize them in an understandable format.  Educators discovered that is was a useful tool to show students not only how events overlap, but the cause and effect of those events.  Students can also create their own timelines in ChronoZoom to demonstrate their knowledge.

I look forward to meeting Andy and getting to see first hand what this tool can do in the classroom.  Below is a youtube link to a preview of the application if you want more info.


Author: Sandy Keldsen, the Center for Team Learning at Boston University Questrom School of Business