Learning History with Time-lines

This was written for International ICT conference Organized by Uttarakhand Open University. The  full Article is available at slideshare.

The Problem:
History as a subject forms a very important aspect of academic curriculum. However
due to the way it is taught in the educational institutions, it does not enhance the
interest of students. The methods employed by the history teachers encourages
student to mug up the dates of historical events. While doing so the students
generally fail to appreciate the significance of an event and its corresponding causes/
outcomes. It is therefore important to look history from a fresh perspective.

Simply said, history is just a bunch of events spread over time. If one looks to
memorize the history in the context of dates, it becomes very cumbersome to
remember it. Moreover such an approach only focuses on passing exams.

The main problem is that we need to remember the events with which we cannot
relate. Typically, we do not even have visual clues about the events happened in
past. This remembrance of events starts getting mixed when volume increases and
we need to remember history of different places, people, objects and subjects e.g.
history of India, Mugal dynasty, earth, literature, astronomy or mathematics.

History becomes more complicated when one tries to relate two events which
occurred around the same time. Since the current teaching methodology focuses on
learning events separately, there is no straightforward way for a student to find out
the impact of one event on another. For example, there is no simple way to explain
how Marathas and Mugals impacted each other.

The Solution:
As they say that a Picture speaks a thousand words. It is a proven fact that visual aids help a lot for remembrance. If historical events can be presented visually on a time-line, it will help people for remembering them in sequence. Each event on the time-line has images and links to other images, movie clips and documents.

Each item has have its own time-line. Zooming-in on a time-line shows more granular events. Time-line of more than one items can be studied together. This helps understanding what was happening with those items in a given time frame.
Time-line of ClubHack conference

Time-line of ClubHack conference Zoomed-in for 2010

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