RWT Timeline

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Read Write Think (RWT) Timeline is an application available for iPads, Androids or as a web application (Flash required). It is a tool that can be used to create timelines. RWT Timeline can support multiple profiles and users.

One great thing about this application is that it doesn’t require registration or email addresses so administrative processes can be avoided. Images can be integrated into the timeline and it doesn’t require dates to create a timeline offering greater flexibility with respect to other timeline tools on the market. Another advantage to the RWT Timeline application is that timeline projects can be saved, re-opened and worked on at a later time. The timelines can also be converted to PDF documents.

I see this application as particularly useful for a variety of in-class activities such as teaching grammar points that require time explanations. Secondly, I could create a timeline to be shown to students to have them recount a story or series of events. In these two respects, the timeline could be a tool the teachers use to create a timeline. On the other hand, it could also be used as a tool students use to create timelines. Perhaps to create a personal timeline of their own lives or to recall the events within a period of time (i.e. a day, a week or a weekend).

Another idea for my future classroom is to create timelines that can be printed and hung on the classroom walls that overview verb tenses and their relation to time. I could use these timelines as written support that are always referred to when students get confused about which verb tense to use. This is an effective strategy identified in Sharon Bassano’s article, Helping ESL Students Remember to Speak English During Group Work, to increase students use of English in the classroom.

The use of timelines as mentioned on Connie Malamed’s blog, The Art of Timelines for Learning, offer positive implications for students’ learning in that they

“provide structure, enable chunking, and provide a good source of interaction”

Timelines are very adaptable. I could use them to carry out  a jigsaw or information gap activity, for example. Even more, I could use timelines as authentic material that the students have created themselves about themselves and block out information on the timelines. The students would then have to complete a cooperative learning, jigsaw task where they would be required to speak to different students to gather the information needed to complete the timelines they each have.

In effect, creating timelines would be considered to be at the Modification level of Ruben R. Puentedura’s SMAR Classification whereby their creation would be enhancing the traditional goings-on of the classroom and transforming the classroom. Timelines are considered a type of visual aid. As stated in Karen and Jack Bradley’s blog article, Scaffolding Academic Learning for Second Language Learners:

“visual aids are identified as being one of the three types of scaffolding strategies effective for second language learners”

Timelines are also an effective way to visually demonstrate grammar tenses where it is crucial to be able to understand the time aspect in relation to verb tenses, especially, for verb tenses that do not exist in French but do in English.

Overall, using an application such as, RWT Timeline offers a variety of options on how to use them and plenty of advantages for students who can use them as a creation tool. As with any application or technological toom, their use in the classroom needs to be planned and justified to ensure positive implications on the students’ learning. In the case of RWT Timeline, I perceive their benefit as outweighing their bad points. Additionally, students’ perceptions and reactions to using them should also be taken into consideration when they are implemented for classroom use.

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