Website review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2021

Sutori

Build timelines, embed media with cool storytelling tool

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 43 reviews
Privacy rating
85%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
6–12
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Social Studies, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

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5 images

Pros: Students can add a range of media, and the simple visual design helps make complex ideas more approachable.

Cons: You'll likely need to upgrade to a premium account. Some design tweaks aren't available (e.g., background color). Pre-built timelines can vary drastically in depth and quality.

Bottom Line: With a super-simple design and tons of flexible features, this is an appealing and intuitive way for teachers and students to organize and share class content.

Sign up for a free account and test-drive the features to see what might work for your classroom. The premade stories and templates include some excellent details and embedded resources, and it's worth spending the time to dig in and find content that might be relevant to your classroom. The wealth of embedded media here offers an interesting opportunity to explore media literacy. Teachers could encourage students to compare how different items of embedded media in a timeline portray the same issue or events. How does one author's portrayal of events differ from another author's account of the same event? How is that important?

Also, check out whether this might be a good format for collaborative work. Consider inviting students to create a Sutori timeline as they review for a history exam or recap the plot of a short story or novel. These timelines could offer students a visual way to organize a series of links to related documents for a document-based question, or a collection of videos or images about a particular event. Encourage students to use the timeline format to build their own multimedia-rich stories to present to their classmates. The great thing about Sutori is that the finished products feel more like social media than PowerPoint, so they could connect better with students and encourage them to think creatively.

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Sutori (formerly HSTRY) is a web-based tool for creating and sharing interactive timelines and presentations. It was originally geared toward history classes, but it's since been repositioned as a tool to develop interactive stories. The developer's premade stories are mostly traditional timelines (users scroll down to navigate through them like a social media feed or webpage), but the community contributions cover all subject areas and range from presentations of knowledge to organizing daily schedules for classrooms.

To get started, teachers can create classes and send students codes to access shared timelines and create their own. A starter template walks users through the creation process, and the timelines are easy to edit and share. There are tons of options for adding content to the timeline (some only by subscription), including text, images, videos, links, quiz questions, and more. The site's free subscription includes basic features for sharing, collaboration, and student management; paid features include more options for embedding content, analyzing student work, and using premade, standards-aligned content and templates.

This is a tool that makes timeline creation -- and presentations -- feel fresh and new. It's terrific that teachers can embed primary source media directly on the timeline and surround those posts with multiple-choice questions and discussion prompts. And it's also terrific that students can collaborate in real time to create their own timelines. For teachers, building your own timeline with this tool might be as simple as adapting an existing outline or slide deck to this new format, but  the simple, visual presentation style here has great potential for helping students make connections. Though some of the user-generated stories are uneven, the developer-created stories are solid, and they're a good starting point for creating your own standards-aligned lessons and activities. Just be aware that it's easy during the free trial to get hooked on the paid features, so if Sutori clicks for you, it's likely going to require an annual subscription. Also, while the tool is exceptionally well designed, it still would be nice to see some further customization -- for instance, more color and theme options.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Scrolling through these slick timelines feels like social media -- in a good way. It's easy for students to navigate teacher-created timelines and create their own.

Pedagogy

Embedded questions provide immediate feedback, and flexible features give students endless ways to present and tell stories. Built-in timelines include standards-aligned lesson plans.

Support

The site walkthrough and help tools are stellar, and the design isn't busy with high contrast. It'd be nice if students could more easily track their progress and favorites.


Common Sense reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

Community Rating

(See all 43 reviews) (43 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Rosellen M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Great interactive site for teachers and students alike!
I enjoy using Sutori and creating my own "stories". My overall opinion is that it is a wonderful teaching tool. It helps me to provide some information, but then pause and allow the students to then become the investigators, the researchers, and the experts. In addtion, sometimes you need to change things up, make things interactive and visually appealing for the students. Sutori is a great platform for that! It can serve my students and my style of teaching better than some of the other platforms out ...
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Personal information is displayed publicly.
User-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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