Sunday, March 31, 2013

Moodle Time Lines

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Teaching History ?

One of the requirements for the historical courseware project is to add a timeline for each unit. A time line allows a teacher to capture   the order of events in a way that students can visualize. While events can be ordered in time, they can usually be located in space as well. To account for this duality timelines can be be paired of with a map as well. Putting the two together and we can get interactive animated maps. But this is not the end either. Events on a Time lines may be clustered to indicate types of historical patterns. Last but not least a timeline can be enhanced with some kind of thematic data which is associated with the events. If the events are appropriately tagged then the time line can be faceted accordingly.

Date presented in this fashion becomes a powerful dynamic visualization tool more so it it can be made  interactive. Bellow is Charles Minard's innovative  chart of Napoleon's Russian campaign. This iconic time line is featured in all of Edward Tufte's tomes.

Charles Minard's 1869 chart showing the losses...
Charles Minard's 1869 chart showing the losses in men, their movements, and the temperature of Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moodle Time Lines

Teaching history requires the use of time lines
  1. Static time lines are lesson based objects.
  2. In a dynamic time line as the lesson proceeds events are added to the time line. When these are stored in a database then 
    1. Events can have tags.
    2. Events can have data nodes
  3. Ideally Time lines can then be used to navigate to the pages of the events
  4. Time lines may be used to generate a new quiz type (e.g.)
    1. Time Line Quizzes scoring
      1. Get papers scraps and drag them onto the time line
      2. The correct Order get 25%
      3. The correct Year gets another 25 %
      4. The Correct Month gets another 25 %
      5. The Correct Date the last 25% per Item.
  5. Map View.
    1. Events can also have location. Wikipedia now offers coordinates for many locations
  6. Combined view:
    1. Animating events on a map using a time line.

Mind map of Timeline concepts

Mind-Map for Moodle Time Lines


Moodle supports a powerful implementation via its timeline filter. This is an integration with MIT Simile Widget Timeline java script interactive widgets into Moodle. The data going into the time line can be static via a XML file or dynamic via a Moodle Database activity.

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