Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

TimeLiner 5.0

TimeLiner 5.0

Fall 2001 Software
Ages: 5 - 18 yrs.
Price: $79.95
Platform: Mac/Win hybrid cd-rom
Tom Snyder Productions has a deserved reputation for creating top-notch classroom software. Some of it is elaborate mini-courses on topics from debate to the Amazon; others, like this one, are simpler classroom tools. TimeLiner simplifies the job of creating, illustrating and printing out timelines. It is essentially a computerized organizer of historic events that provides a graphics library of more than 400 clipart images (from portraits of the presidents to scenes from ancient Athens) and a slideshow mode of short historical movies and sound clips. Students can also hyperlink any item they add to the timeline to a relevant Web page.

The CD-ROM includes sample timelines that both introduce the concept and demonstrate what's possible with this program. The "standard" timeline mode can be set as general as the 20th Century, or as specific as 1949, or even by the minute on a given day. Students can also layout their timelines by the year (month-to-month), weekly, daily geologic (by millions of years), and customized (non-time based data such as by the mile or percentage). The finished products are as impressive as any timeline found in books -- more so because of the multimedia used.

But TimeLiner doesn't do it all: It sets a lovely table but doesn't cook the meal. Students have to key in all historical events, dates, descriptions and other data they want on their timelines, choose among the visual and sound clips in the library, locate relevant Web sites, etc. TimeLiner just makes putting it all together on a timeline a lot easier and more fun.

Don Oldenburg   ©2001 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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