In the most recent unit in world history that I taught, I introduced the website “Dipity” to my students. Dipity allows students to create unique timelines on any subject of their choosing. It has many similarities to thinglink, which I previously reviewed.
One downside to their free accounts is that you are only allowed three timelines per email address. While you can’t expect everything for free, having a limit of three, would limit the amount of times dipity can be used in your classroom without purchasing access.
My students were building two timelines, with ten events each. The first was on the history of communication since the invention of the printing press and the other was on advances in military weapons since the invention of the gun. For each event on their timelines they needed to analyze the importance of that event to the history of communication or warfare. The end goal was that this information would eventually help them answer the question of “What is mightier, the pen or the sword?”.
As they analyzed each event, students could add weblinks, images or videos to their description. This gave their timelines not only a nice visual, but allowed them integrate information from different sources, just like http://www.thinglink.com/.
The one downside that affected about 10% of my students was that at times they could not access their accounts. The reason was unclear and the students affected seemed random. I tried to do some research as to why this occurred but came up empty. One thought was that they did not log themselves out of dipity on one computer, and as a result could not log into it on another. However, every time I tried to work with a student to test this hypothesis, they could never recall what computer they were one when they last worked on it………
Emails and tweets to dipity went unanswered……..
So, to sum up the review…….I like dipity a lot. As a history teacher, it allowed me to teach the concept of change-over-time nicely. However, the number of students who had issues logging back into the site, and the lack of response to my requests for help probably means that next year I will look for a different site to create timelines with.