Today while looking around Microsoft Research, I came across a new product called ChronoZoom. This turned out to be one of the coolest eduction products I've found in a long time. ChronoZoom is a collaborative project from University of California, Berkeley and Moscow State University working in the relatively new field of Big History. Big History attempts to unify the past—all of the past, from the beginning of time, some 13.7 billion years ago, to the present—through the four major regimes: cosmic history, Earth history, life history, and human history.
What, you might ask, is so wonderful about ChronoZoom? After all, history resources abound. There are thousands of digital repositories, collections, libraries, and websites full of images, videos, documents, facts, and figures. But the sheer volume and disparate locations of these resources confound researchers, educators, and students, who spend untold hours searching this information, seeking to better understand history and its lessons for our future. What if we had a tool that could bring all these resources together? ChronoZoom attempts to answer this question.
Through an easy to use interface demonstrating the scale of cosmic history compared to human history, the user can click into any period in history and find resources, links and content to explain the period in question. Zooming further and further shows the the links and overlaps in different periods in history. Perhaps it's about time we stop looking at periods in history as single silos of events and individuals and can visualise historical timelines.
What are the 21st century skills that ChronoZoom can help you with in your classroom?
- Literacy: listening, reading, viewing, writing, speaking and creating visual and digital materials across disciplines to facilitate students ability to communicate confidently
- Information and Communication Technology competence: Use ICT effectively and appropriately when investigating, creating and communicating ideas and information at school, at home, at work and in their communities
- Critical and Creative Thinking: Learn to generate and evaluate knowledge, ideas and possibilities, and use them when seeking new pathways or solutions. Learn to use reason and imagination to direct their thinking for different purposes embodied in activities requiring reason, logic, imagination and innovation.
Check it out and see how you can join up science and the humanities.
For more information on Big History check out the following links: