Way back in the fall 2006 semester, I taught my first version of my grad seminar Teaching History in the Digital Age. A key component of that course is that students must either create a digital learning tool/application/opportunity for students and/or teachers to use or, if they don’t yet have the digital skills, must create the wireframe of what they would have created if they did have the skills. This culminating exercise has proven to be one of the best parts of the course and in the two iterations of the course thus far, my grad students have produced some very interesting results.
Among the most successful is a timeline creator website built by our CHNM webmaster and history PhD student Ammon Shepherd. Using an open source timeline creator from MIT’s Simile project Ammon put together a simple, yet carefully thought out website where students create their own timeline of the most important events of the Second World War. The target audience was high school students and as of last week more than 750 timelines had been created by students around the country (and I assume, around the world). If use is a measure of success, then I’d say this class project has been a true success.