xTimeline – The review

My first review will be xTimeline. It didn’t get a great rating from us at IT Babble, but hey not everyone can be a rockstar. It’s not a terrible program by any means, but to get all the details you are going to have to read on past the break to find out why we at IT Babble gave it a one out of four DTs.

Let’s start from the beginning shall we. Signing up is super simple and straightforward. You need an email address, so if your students are too young for email this already crosses this one out as an option. If your students have an email then off you go.

There is no verification email or anything. xTimeline just logs you in and you are ready for to start chronicling history.

There is an easy to find button that says Create a timeline. Click that and it asks for the basic info: title, url (which xTimeline can generate for you), language, category, etc. it is all  pretty simple. Check out the picture below to get a good sense of what you’re in store for.

Now, that the basics are out of the way, let’s start creating this timeline. I made one about Omar’s imaginary life. I mean no mere mortal can live for nearly 200 years. When adding events it is very simple, which we like here at IT Babble. You simply click Add Event from the menu right above the timeline.

When you add an event it couldn’t be simpler. You get an easy to fill out form where you add what you would expect, a title, date (or dates if you want to add a duration), you can upload a photo or embed flash animations, videos, or photos, and of course the description. When you’re done you click on Save if you’re totally done or Save and add next if you have more events to add.
So far, so good. A neat feature that xTimeline.com offers is the ability to have multiple users editing the same timeline. This is great for group work and it helps to keep everyone on the same page. Becoming an editor is kind of nice. Instead of the original author adding the user. The person who wants to join finds the timeline and asks to become a user. This allows the original person the ability to accept or deny their request.So the timeline itself . . . well this is where I’m not so keen on it. The timeline doesn’t really look like much of a timeline. It looks like a Word document that someone has used tabs to just add new events. When you hover over an event a drop down menu is revealed giving the particulars and any media that has been uploaded, but I could not seem to get mine working on my timeline. I went to other timelines available to look at and they seemed to work, but even when it does it is a bit obtrusive and takes up a lot of screen real estate. Here is mine below.

You have the option to print, but guess what, you don’t get the dates on the print out. You have a very nice list of the events, but the all important dates are not there. I am not sure why this is, or if I missed a step, but I went through it a few times and could not get the dates to print. Kind of silly really.

Also, there are ads all over the site. It can be a small distraction (as ads are meant to do) and it just kind of looks a little unprofessional. I understand the site is free to use and this is where money is generated to pay the hard work that people are doing, but the other sites are also free and do not have ads.

Check out my timeline by following the link below:

http://www.xtimeline.com/timeline/The-Life-of-Omar

Overall xTimeline is easy to use, has some nice features like multiple people working on the same project, but the end product has a lot to be desired. The other choices look much nicer, work much better, and are just better. Those reviews are a coming. In short, unless you need more than one person contributing to a timeline you have four much better choices out there.

On its own I would give this a rating of two DT’s, but since we’re comparing it to four others, I’m giving it just one.

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About Patrick Cauley

I teach middle school technology and love to play around with tech and teach students and colleagues alike. You can read my blog at www.itbabble.com
This entry was posted in Opinion, Review, Tech Integration and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to xTimeline – The review

  1. Nisha says:

    What are your thoughts on http://whenintime.com

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