Virtual Timelines & Google Fusion Tables

These mini-project technology tools can be a great asset in engaging our 21st century students.  This week, I chose the Timeline with Chronological Content as my third mini-project.  For an English classroom, the timeline can be essential in explicitly showing students the progression of events within the story.

I decided to choose major events from The Diary of Anne Frank to include on my timeline, based on BBC America’s content on Anne Frank.  In order to fully understand Anne Frank’s diary, you must understand the correct sequence of events during Anne Frank’s life.  I created an example of a timeline revolving around the story, but for my lesson plan I would have students create their own interactive timelines.  If students are able to identify the beginning, middle, and end (and also the climax, resolution, etc.) of the story, they are learning essential standards for the middle school level.

I loved the pictures feature on the timeline: the pictures would further aid students in remembering and visualizing important events from the story.  The timeline tool could be a useful technology tool for any story taught, not just The Diary of Anne Frank.  Teachers could even break up their students into small groups and have each group choose their own story.  After participating in literature circles, these students could use the timeline technology tool as a great summary activity to look at the story as a whole and be able to summarize the major events presented throughout the book.

My fourth mini-project involved Google Fusion Tables.  I had never heard of this concept before; it reminded me of the information-aggregating websites like delicious and Pinterest.  Instead of taking the information and assigning it to a category, Google Fusion has the option of overlapping data sets that might be relevant (i.e., one data set that locates coffee bean sources and another that shows country boundaries, just like the Google how-to video indicates).  The potential for this technology use in the classroom is great.

I created two Google Fusion tables that involved two Google maps, similar to the maps in the Google how-to video for Google Fusion Tables.  Even in an English classroom, these maps could be another way to further explore themes within a novel.  For example, if a teacher was teaching The Diary of Anne Frank, an English teacher could show through fusion tables where the concentration camps were, as well as where the major battles were being fought, in relation to where Anne Frank’s family was at a certain point in time.  If a teacher were to have students create their own fusion tables, students with a partner could create fusion tables by choosing one of a set of pre-determined themes identified in the specific novel being taught.

One response to “Virtual Timelines & Google Fusion Tables

  1. HI! I love your idea for using a timeline to discuss stories! I will be using that soon in my class! Thank you!!