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Have you ever had a subject that is filled with important dates, and found that it would be impossible to make it fun to deliver to the students? Wondered how you could explain how a concept evolved over time, or had to simplify an evolution of sorts? Only then to panic at the thought of delivering this dry content, which will surely put the students to sleep?

Well welcome to Dipity Timeline, which is an interactive timeline that enables you and the students to engage in fun and interactive manner with all those tedious dates, evolution processes, or even the process of conceptualization.

It is important to note that Dipity can be used for more than just a history lesson, it can be used in a variety of ways and subjects, for example politics, art, tourism, marketing and so many more. Furthermore, students can utilise this as a visual blog and therefore could be used in subjects such as work integrated learning (WIL), journalism and communication.

Dipity is one of the best timeline creators available on the web, this is not just the author’s opinion but that of several noted IT bloggers and educational reviewers on the net. It is a simple, yet effective site, very visual and great interactivity, allowing for users who have little or limited web skills.

The navigation system is basic and easy to grasp and use. Once the timeline has been created, inputting of the information, the system generates a powerfully visual timeline that can either be printed or embedded.

However, as easy as the navigation is, the process of generating the timeline is not overly simple, which from an educational value is vital. If it was too easy to generate the timeline, the usefulness as a classroom tool would be negated, allowing for little educational value to be transferred. The best way to generate a timeline would be to split the class into groups, get them to input the data, the description information, images and videos themselves, making the process to be challenging without complicating it through complex navigation. Given the ease of the navigation it allows the students to focus on learning about the topic of the timeline rather than learning how to use the system.

Timelines can also be valuable for the lecturer, either using their own generated ones, or alternatively search for timelines that have already been created within Dipity. These can then be displayed on the board, or distributed as handouts.

However, as with all technology and web 2.0 tools, there are always some negative aspects. The tool itself is great, but the free account only allows for 3 timelines, and the cost of the paid version varies depending on what package you take. Educators and students do get a discount, but it is merely 20%. The value in paying for Dipity would only really lie in the number of timelines that the educator would really use as well as the frequency of timeline creation required by the module/s.

Ultimately, it is recommended that the free version be used, and rather delete any timelines that are no longer being used by the class or the educator. Please note though that if the timeline has been embedded within a learning management system, such as CourseSites, Edmodo, etc., then said timeline will no longer be accessible after it has been deleted off Dipity.

So why not give it a try the next time you need to lecture on a section with a complex concept that has evolved over time!

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