Prior to the start of 2014 I couldn’t tell you what Dipity was, as I had simply never heard of it. As a part of the MeD in Business Education program at Bowling Green State University I was introduced to Dipity and am glad I am now aware of its capabilities.
For those of you who are in the dark about Dipity, it is a free, online resource for creating visually appealing timelines. You are allowed to upload videos, pictures and other media to make your timeline more enticing. It is a perfect tool for students of all ages and for any classroom educator to use.
Below you can see two examples of timelines I’ve created for courses using Dipity, but you are not limited in what you can use Dipity for, as realistically anything you may need to create a timeline for you can create with Dipity.
So now the question becomes, how can I use Dipity?
Signing Up for Dipity:
Signing up for Dipity is a fairly easy process. First, visit http://www.dipity.com/
Once on Dipity you will be asked for your First Name, Last Name, a username, a password and your Email address. There may be a captcha required for you to prove you are a human. You will need to verify your email address to activate your account.
Once you have completed these tasks and your account is activated you are able to start making timelines.
Creating a Timeline:
At this point you need to name your new timeline. A description may or may not be necessary depending on what your project is. If you only intend to give a picture timeline of events a description is a good idea and may need to be lengthy, but if each feature of the timeline will have its own description it may not be necessary to produce an in depth description for these purposes. Choosing a category is another aspect that may or may not be important to your usage. If you intend to use Dipity often it is a good idea to label each timeline with a category so that they are easier to find later on. You can upload a picture to help further define your timeline.
The permissions feature is a primary focus when creating a timeline in Dipity. This allows you to set your Dipity so that only you can see it, you may change this later when you’re ready to “publish it.” It also allows for collaboration so that you may invite other individuals to add/modify when it comes to the timeline. Connecting or following people on Dipity is the easiest and most effective way to collaborate.
Adding to Your Timeline:
Once you’ve created your timeline click Add Event to starting adding events to your timeline. Please note that whenever you create a new timeline Dipity puts an event of “Created New Timeline” into your timeline, so to make the timeline efficient and professional it is best to take this event out.
For each event you add you are going to need to label it with a title. Thus far I have seen no limitations to the length of the title. Next you need to add a date to your event, as without the date the event cannot be properly attributed to the timeline. Once again you’re asked for a description, but this time it is specific to the event. The length of your description is dependent on the intended purpose of the timeline. You always want to make sure you consider your audience as well. For example, if you’re using Dipity timelines to teach in a Kindergarten course their attention spans need to be considered.
Then you may add media associated with your timeline event. You are able to upload appropriate pictures or you can use image URL links available online and click Ok. You will see a preview of the image you selected. Make sure the image regardless of what message you use is appropriate to your event to avoid confusion and present the case the timeline is professional. You may not be able to describe an event as best you’d like. This is where the Link feature comes in, as you may include a link to an alternate website that may provide in depth information about the event. Note that not all events with have extensive, in depth websites for you to refer to. The Video URL acts in the same manner. You should utilize this function to further explain your event. For example, if your timeline event is on the Louisiana Purchase a YouTube video of a recreation of the Louisiana Purchase would be appropriate to link here. Make sure to view the Video URL prior to using the link, as content may not be appropriate depending on your audience.
Finally, is the top feature as far as I’m concerned. You have the option to simply Save an event you add and come back at a later date, but if you want to create your timeline all at once Dipity has made it easier on us. You can simply select Save + Add Another which allows you to Save your most recently created event and jump right into a new event, rather than having to close out your current event and select Add Event again. This makes it possible for continuous modifications and additions to your timeline for the quickest production.
My personal favorite is the List mode, as it allows you to simply scroll through each event and view information on the events you’re interested in.
Flipbook mode is an excellent choice to use in younger grades, as it may be more visually appealing for students of that age group.
Timeline mode is primarily what you see while you are creating your timeline by adding events. It allows you to scroll so you can see all events on one screen or one event at a time.
Map mode is a fun feature of Dipity, but only truly works if you provide locations for each of your events. Then it will show a map of all the various locations your events occurred at.
My Final Thoughts:
- Dipity is free. This is always a positive when working in academia where budgets are tight.
- Dipity is easy to use, as explained above.
- Dipity is user friendly. Dipity allows for users to vary in age due to its setup of essentially just selecting various, repetitive options for creating timelines.
- Dipity is visually appealing. Dipity can be viewed as a timeline, flipbook, list or map. While my preferences are timeline and list mode, they all are visually appealing to the eye.
- Dipity looks professional. Whether a 6 year old first grader or a college professor uses Dipity the timelines come out in a professional manner that you wouldn’t mind showing off.
- Dipity is free. Did I mention this?