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A look at Tiki-Toki, a timeline creation tool. For EDTECH 522, Boise State University, 2013

matthew doyle

on 26 September 2013

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Transcript of Tiki-Toki

What is Tiki-Toki?
A Timeline Creation Tool
To begin, let's imagine you're a U.S. History teacher.

One of your objectives is to have students discuss how the
Declaration of Independence
(D.O.I) had influenced the historical events to come in the next 50 years.

To aid your students, you have a reading of the D.O.I. in an .mp3 file, as well as an image and a video of actors reading the document aloud.
In the past, your
students would access these
files on your class
wiki in the computer lab
and discuss their thoughts in class...

...or more recently, logging into the wiki and participating in a small-group forum.
in the enormous Revolutionary period, often losing its historical place in a sea of significant events.
After some thought,
you consider creating
a timeline for
your students
to display the
significant events
of the period
Where do
but on second thought,
you decide to
ask the students
to collaboratively
create their own.


"Tiki-Toki is web-based software
for creating beautiful
interactive timelines
that you can share on the internet."
Tiki-Toki is in a process of development.

The most recent addition
(as of 9/1/2013) is the ability to present the timeline data on
a 3D road .

It's a bit hard to describe, but it looks
a bit like a translucent glass slide
on which your timeline data is placed. You can move down the road via your mouse wheel button.

But there's more to it than
what meets the eye,

so to speak.

To revisit our U.S. History example, Tiki-Toki would allow you to:

media files you had on your wiki into a "marker" on the timeline,
it on the timeline respective to other revolutionary period events.

Students will still
engage with your media
, but they will do so in the
rich context
of other events placed in their respective moments of history.
it is...

Optional: My Tiki-Toki (external link)

is a fantastic tool for
attaching contextual media to significant events
, and then placing those events on a timeline.
From a constructivist standpoint, Tiki-Toki may be considered a desirable tool in that it allows learners to construct their own meaning while creating their project.
For example, one must decide which events to place on the timeline, what to write about each event, and which media (if any) to attach to the event.
Each decision made will be a manifestation of a complex thought process that involves critical thinking in the pursuit of one’s own learning.
As Siemens (2004) writes in his exploration of learning theory in the digital age,

“real-life learning is messy and complex [and] Classrooms which emulate the ‘fuzziness’ of this learning will be more effective in preparing learners for life-long learning” (Siemens, 2004).
Given the freedom to explore the time period using a variety of sources, a student will create a unique timeline that reflects their understanding of events.

However, an
understated benefit
of the web app,

and what I will argue provides a real opportunity for
deep learning

is the
ability to collaborate
on the project in real-time and
asynchronously online
By inviting members to
to the project, the timeline is
no longer restricted
to the synthesis of
one student
, but instead reflects
a complex web of understanding
and multiple interpretations of events.
Furthermore, as Hsu and Ching (2012) state in their article on microblogging and Web 2.0,

“social engagement critical to learning is extended beyond the cultural perspectives of a local community to groups that are diverse and geographically dispersed, such as groups of learners in online learning environments” (Hsu & Ching).

C.N. Buckley and A.M. William in their paper on Web 2.0 technology (2010)
recognize this ability to collaborate on a project online with multiple members will
“allow for ‘remixing’ of data from various sources...to collaborate to a common cause” and create an artifact that “is greater than the sum of its parts”
(p 119):
...Whilst the social aspects of learning have long been recognised by educational philosophers such as Vygotsky,
it is only recently that new theories of learning have started to emerge that reflect the burgeoning potential of the digitally connected society"
(Buckley & William, 2010, p 119).
"We now have a
‘connected society’
; connected
not by face-to-face interaction

but by the internet
; geographical location is no longer a barrier to discourse and interaction...
The authors go on to cite
the importance of connecting to other individuals for input and information
, and “how learning can reside outside the individual and how individuals can contribute to a social network of understanding and knowledge” (Buckley & William, 2010, p 119).
The best online tools will allow, if not encourage, this type of group interaction and production.

As Siemens (2004) points out,

“The capacity to form connections between sources of information, and thereby create useful information patterns, is required to learn in our knowledge economy” (Siemens).

Although still in development, Tiki-toki is an example of such a tool.
a free account is limited

Tiki-Toki requires an account which must be associated with an email address to use

Design flaws
Before discussing design weaknesses, I should point out two major barriers to using Tiki-Toki

a free account is limited to the creation of one timeline, limited uploaded media, and you cannot invite others to join in the project.

By upgrading, or by a teacher paying for a class account, you have unlimited access to the “features” listed above.

Tiki-Toki requires an account which must be associated with an email address to use.
While not as problematic as the account limitation issue, it still may prevent some people from signing up if they do not have an active email account.

As for the design,
there are some weaknesses.
For example,
any timeline creation software is restricted
by the inherent limitations of what one can do with a timeline.

A timeline is useful
for visually displaying events relative to other data, such as time (year, month, day) and “relevant” events.
A timeline alone is likely

not the best tool
, for example, for teaching a new workplace skill or delivering a syllabus to students.

it should be considered one component of a whole toolkit
that is used to convey meaning. A Tiki-Toki timeline, therefore, would be an excellent addition to a larger class blog or wiki.

Dennis and Belshaw (2013) also bring up a larger issue that deserves attention, that
if the instructor or students
do not understand


they are creating a timeline, and instead only understand how to create a timeline, opportunities for significant learning are greatly diminished:
In essence, clear principles create the means to use a range of technological tools to create outstanding learning.

The lure of shiny new tech exists
, and even the best-intentioned instructor can fall for tools that fall short of helping students achieve learning goals.
being innovative
with new tools
does not mean
that the work
your students
will produce
will be
more analytical
or more detailed despite it looking more impressive (initially)...

In other words,
technology is best thought of as an
in the hands of a skilled
, the work can be amazing.

In the hands of someone who does not share...deep professional principles, the technology will be used, but the outcome will be less than satisfactory in terms of learning (Dennis & Belshaw, 2013, p 162).
(Dennis & Belshaw, 2013, p 162)
(Dennis & Belshaw, 2013, p 162)

if a low-tech version
of a tool
did not help
students succeed, it is important for an instructor to
question why a high-tech version would be any different
If creating a paper-pen-and-scissors timeline did little to help students develop their understanding of events the first time,
what would make using Tiki-Toki to create a timeline any different?
The biggest complaint your students had was trying to visualize where the D.O.I. appears
To try it out, I created a visual timeline of my career as a teacher.
As a complete project, the timeline gives a visual representation of my career as an educator with links to relevant media such as images and external websites
...starting a new teaching position, added what Tiki-Toki refers to as a “story,” or text explaining the event, and then added either an image, video, or both to the event.
In this timeline, I marked significant events on the timeline such as...
C o n t e n t s
To begin, let's take a look at Tiki-Toki. To use their own words:
This free timeline generating tool is visually stunning and very easy to set up.
The ability to embed

into each entry
on the timeline
makes it perfect
for instructors looking
to place, say,
relevant media
in perspective.
and audio files
I n c o n c l u s i o n
Tiki-Toki is an excellent timeline
creation tool that encourages
multiple modalities (embedded media combined with written text),
and creativity.

, the impressive
learning benefits, such as group work, are unlocked only by purchasing a premium


Buckley, C. N., & William, A. M. (2010). Web 2.0 Technology for Problem-Based and
Collaborative Learning: A Case Study. In (Ed.), Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes (pp. 118-125). Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-60566-828-4.ch011

Dennis, N., & Belshaw, D. (2013). Tools for the tech savvy history teacher. In T. Haydn (Ed.),
Using new technologies to enhance teaching and learning in history. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Hsu, Y., & Ching, Y. (2012). Mobile microblogging: Using Twitter and mobile devices in an online
course to promote learning in authentic contexts. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 13(4), 211-227. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1222/2313

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved
from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
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