Posted by Jose Miguel Parrella
Microsoft Interoperability Strategy

ChronoZoom, the award-winning open source cross-platform timeline that captures the “history of everything,” continues to make waves in the education space. This time, Microsoft Research’s Donald Brinkman has teamed up with the National Council of Social Studies, the American Historical Association, LearnNC from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a collection of students and teachers, with the goal of combining the staying power of face-to-face learning and teaching tools with the unprecedented visualization that ChronoZoom delivers.

 

From World War I to the European Colonization of the Americas, Brinkman and team are creating classroom curriculum that leverages ChronoZoom’s ability to produce digital timelines and even presentations, ultimately keeping students more engaged while empowering them to reach their own conclusions.

“There’s a certain amount of messiness to history that can make it a challenge to fully understand,” says Middle School history teacher Samantha Shires, who helped develop the World War I curriculum. “ChronoZoom provides a visual representation that helps my students make sense of the messiness and act as an operator of history, rather than merely a bystander.”

Leveraging the latest HTML5 and JavaScript technology, Chronozoom allows a student to zoom from 13.8 billion years to a single day, a zoom level of more than 5 trillion percent. Since ChronoZoom is also free, available on GitHub under the Apache 2.0 license, and usable by anyone with a modern browser, it’s easy for all students to access.

Following recent presentations and demos at the National Council for Social Studies Conference, the team is quickly gaining interest in the program and activities from across the country. To help others get started and expand ChronoZoom’s reach, teachers can download the curriculum for free and customize the curriculum to best fit the needs of their classrooms. A handy step-by-step guide from Microsoft Research is also available to help users as they begin to develop their own custom timelines in ChronoZoom.

Interested in learning more? Check out the video below for more on Donald Brinkman’s work, and be sure to take ChronoZoom for a spin through history via your own web browser!

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