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ChronoZoom - Microsoft Research

Grades
8 to 12
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Ready to think big? How about an interactive timeline that covers all of time from the Big Bang to today? Chronozoom is an ambitious project, just launched (at the time ...more
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Ready to think big? How about an interactive timeline that covers all of time from the Big Bang to today? Chronozoom is an ambitious project, just launched (at the time of this review), that seeks to create zoomable, interactive timelines for the entire history of time. At present, the site is still under construction, but it is visually stunning and a little overwhelming. You will need to set aside some time to watch the video tour and to tinker with the site before presenting it to students. Every move of the mouse, every click, seems to create "explosions" of graphs and timelines; you'll need to be patient and get the hang of navigation.

The site's creators freely admit that they don't really know where the project will lead, and what technologies might emerge that will help them create more content for the site. There are some caveats for using the site. First, the site assumes a particular theory of the creation of the universe, and the timeline of its existence. Second, the site can lend itself to aimless "mousing," or the temptation to simply click and move the mouse to see how the site will react, with no attention to the content at all.

tag(s): charts and graphs (163), evolution (86), Microsoft (68), timelines (47)

In the Classroom

This is a big idea, still in its early stages. Obviously it has usefulness as a way of visually demonstrating the sheer immensity of time, and the relative insignificance of human existence in comparison. You could use this site as an intro to any history or geology class simply to generate BIG questions that students want to know. Consider asking gifted students, or students interested in technology applications to imagine what the site COULD be. How would they create a visual overview of--forever? How can one prioritize what matters? But on an interactive whiteboard--WOW! If you, as current students seem to be, are comfortable with imagining the world as a series of hyperlinks rather than a linear march, this site has limitless potential.

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