I’m always searching for new tools that allow for student creativity and critical thinking, particularly those that are device neutral with the only cost involved is time spent learning. When new resources become accessible, I encourage teachers to implement them because often times the newness is enough motivation to get students highly engaged. And with newness students embark on a learning quest figuring out how to use the resource enriching their critical thinking skills.
HSTRY seems to be spot on with these criteria as a tool to allow a person to put together a linear list of resources called a timeline. Some timelines can be chronological by the calendar, while others may be viewed as different sections of a report.
Using the teacher login, they can create a class, then either manually add students or have students join via a class code. The student will not need an email address, just a username and password.
One feature I look into from the student perspective is what they can view by searching public resources, which HSTRY calls timelines. This is particularly valuable for elementary students in case they stumble upon high school curriculum inappropriate for their age level. HSTRY only allows students to view their own timelines, or those provided to them from the teacher.
The teacher can search timelines posted to the community, and with a click share with the class. Once a timeline is shared with the class, students will be able to comment on any item, and yes the teacher can moderate all comments.
Which brings me to cost. To use HSTRY, it’s completely free. There is a premium version which provides you with access to created content, for instance Timeline bundles about the American Revolution.
Timelines contain a series of blocks which may include a text block, an image block, a video block, a question block, or a “did you know” block. The author is free to drag and drop the blocks freely to fit their intended linear path.
Sharing of timelines is limited to the teacher sharing one they create or find to the students. HSTRY is working on a feature where students can share timelines with their class, but are very hesitant at allowing students share timelines with the community. Currently a student submits a timeline so only the teacher has view privileges.
A nice getting started task could be to have everyone create an “About Me” timeline. Then use this tool to have students demonstrate understanding for many projects throughout the curriculum, like state reports, expedition reports, animal reports, book reviews, author biographies, science lab write ups, or even math concepts.